Giving Your Life Away
Lent is the season of sacrifice. People give up things for Lent and pastors often invite their church members to a higher level of spiritual discipline. This is all right and good, because it is a season that brings us back to some of the most important themes of the Christian life.
Let me summarize it as three clear propositions:
1. We serve a Lord who modeled sacrifice. He left heaven to be born as a baby in Bethlehem, emptying himself for us and for our salvation (Philippians 2:1-12).
2. We are called to follow a way of salvation whose goal is to be more and more like Jesus. We are supposed to look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)
3. Jesus said that those who want to follow Jesus should “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
These steps are ways of obeying the two great commandments, to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This sacrifice is hard, but it is possible by the sanctifying grace of God.
I hope you are paying for God to show you new and better ways of giving your life away. This could involve generosity of money, so that you give to the church more money than you gave last year. This could involve the sacrifice of time for spiritual growth, where you are going to attend church more regularly, join a small group or Sunday School class, or make more time each day for prayer and Bible study. This could involve offering to help with the children’s ministry at your church, or with a ministry for the poor.
The New Testament is clear that the different parts of the body of Christ have different gifts and we will find different ways of giving our lives away. Some are teachers, some are behind the scenes servants, some are prayer warriors, some are evangelists, and some are leaders who organize the body for mission. Our different gifts strengthen the body.
We are all at different places in our spiritual journeys, but we are all headed in the same direction—toward Jesus. I pray that this season of Lent will be a time when God shows you new ways of making spiritual progress by giving your life away even more fully than you have in the past.