I remember how the words of this well known pastor, author, and bible teacher gripped me when he talked about his conversation with an ex-satanist. The ex-satanist who was now a committed Christian told him that Christians do not understand the power of sacrifice. No, I am not talking about Christians in general, but specifically about Christians in the Western World, because I believe in countries like China, Christians do understand the incredible power that lays in sacrifice. But Christians in the Western World seem to have no or very limited understanding about this hidden power which is available to all of us.
First, let us define what I mean by sacrifice. I do not mean to bring an animal, slaughter it and then burn it on some altar. Although God Himself instituted these sacrifices, they were only a shadow of the one great sacrifice Jesus Christ brought and through it delivered us from our sinfulness. There is nothing to add to this sacrifice, we will never be able to earn our salvation and forgiveness of sin, which only comes through believing and accepting the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
However, there is so much more to the Christian life than just getting saved and making it to heaven. God has decided that EVERY single Christian is supposed to walk in the authority of heaven and bring His kingdom here onto this earth. This is our duty, job and obligation. It is by NO MEANS the job of “fulltime Christian workers” like pastors, evangelists… It is the job of every Christian. Now I understand that God called different people to do different things, but He made it very clear in His word that all those who believe shall do greater things that Jesus did (John 14) and the great supernatural signs shall follow all those who believe in Him (Mark 16). God has works waiting for all of us which He has already prepared for us and expects us to walk in them and fulfill them. To do this, requires great sacrifice, which not many people are willing to pay. There are people you interact with every day which God wants to touch through you, there are miracles waiting to be performed and you are supposed to be the channel. God desires for you to have spiritual children, people who you have birthed spiritually by leading them to the Lord, then helping them to grow and mature. But this doesn’t happen by itself, it requires great sacrifice and a life of surrender to God.
There is plenty of proof in the bible that sacrifice brings power and lack thereof, of course, will cause us to walk a powerless Christian life. Look at the apostle Paul when he was met by Jesus on the road to Damascus. His immediate response to God was three days of fasting and praying (Acts 9). There are some Christians who have never fasted for three days in their entire lives and pray very little. Their excuse usually is that their lives are too busy, yet they have plenty of time to watch TV, surf the internet, enjoy the i-phone, roam on facebook…. I am not speaking against these things, they can be great tools, but rather I am talking about an incredible unwillingness to bring sacrifices for the kingdom of God. We must be willing to sacrifice time, sleep, food and our all too important comfort to advance the kingdom of God. Without sacrifice we will not see the power of God that belongs to us in the measure we should see it.
Paul says in Romans 12 that God wants our bodies to be living sacrifices to Him. Sacrifice is something that costs, hurts, and doesn’t come easy. Many people preach a message of grace which is not at all biblical. They teach that grace means an easy life where we can just enjoy God’s goodness and His love and have a great comfortable life full of His provision. Look what Paul says about grace in 1.Corinthians 15 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Grace for Him meant more and harder work for the kingdom of God. I understand God’s kindness and goodness and that He made me a king because of the great sacrifice of Jesus. But now He is asking me if I willingly follow Jesus, and voluntarily become a slave to Him for the sake of His kingdom. Sacrifice is something that costs much, but it is something that you have to bring voluntarily and not by being forced. But if you willingly bring it to God, it will have incredible power and a life of outstanding reward.
In my 40+ years of walking with the Lord, I have learned to continually bring Him any sacrifice He asks of me, whether be it my time, money, sleep, food, whatever He wants of me, I will gladly bring Him. Recently when I injured my shoulder and was in severe pain, couldn’t sleep and felt miserable, He asked me to fly to Florida to speak at a conference. It was the last thing I wanted to do or felt like doing, but I understood the power of sacrifice, so I went. That weekend we saw so many amazing miracles and healings; it was so wonderful. I understand that God is the one who works miracles and heals the sick, but He is constantly looking for human channels to work through. In so many bible schools and seminaries, people are taught all sorts of things, and many of them are good, but few are taught the power of living a life of sacrifice. I understand that many Christians are hurt, because spiritual leaders have abused their position to manipulate people into sacrificing a lot just to build their own kingdoms and ministries. We must let go of these hurts and disappointments and surrender our lives to Christ completely, and be willing to bring Him any sacrifice He asks us to bring.
Let me finish with a question. Is there anything that is so important to you that you can’t let it go and give it up for the sake of Christ? What are you holding on to so tightly that it would hurt to think of not having it anymore? Maybe it is time for you to talk to God about sacrifice and see if He wants it from you. It might be something different for each person, but nevertheless, we all need to live a life of sacrifice if we want to see the power of the kingdom.