Do you desire success? Do you want to see changes in your life? Do you want a few things to be different next year? Now the big question: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this?
Making changes, keeping the resolutions we made for the New Year is what our current series is about. Research from the University of Scranton has revealed that only 8% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions, actually keep them.
Change is hard. We are creatures of habit, and we like what is comfortable. But… if we want to make changes, we have to do what it takes to make those changes possible.
There are three key things that are necessary to making long term changes in our lives. They are: patience, sacrifice and perseverance. Last week we talked about patience. Next, we’re talking sacrifice. Without patience and sacrifice, perseverance will never happen.
So, why is sacrifice necessary? Why does God require sacrifice?
The basic definition of sacrifice is to destroy or surrender something for the sake of something else. We usually only focus on the first part of sacrifice. We consider what we have to surrender or destroy in our lives, and we become hesitant.
What would happen if we look passed what we have to give up and look at what we have to gain instead?
A rich young ruler once asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After a short conversation about keeping the commandments, Jesus told him there was one thing he lacked. Jesus told him to sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor. Then, Jesus told the rich ruler to come and follow Him.
It is important to know this is not a formula for how to get into heaven. Rather, Jesus was speaking directly to this specific person’s need. Basically, Jesus asked this man what he valued more: all of his wealth or eternal life. This man shared his desire to spend all eternity with God, but it appears he valued his wealth more. Luke tells us he walked away sad.
Do you place more value in your material possessions? Do you place more value in any other person or thing more so than on your relationship with Christ? Sacrifice is necessary for success. Sacrifice means that we are willing to give something up that has value to us, for something that has even greater value.
Now, let’s be honest: Often what we are sacrificing for may not happen for a long time! For success, for change to occur, we must be willing to sacrifice even if our gratification is not immediate!
We need to understand that sacrifice is necessary for growth in our lives. It’s necessary for our relationships, both personal and professional. Sacrifice is having another’s best interest at heart. It must be done willingly, not forced or out of obligation, and it must be sincere to be effective.
Remember always that God wants something for us, not merely from us. This is why sacrifice is important to Him. God knows sacrifice. He gave His Son for us. Jesus gave up His life so we can have life.
You see, God places a great value you. Such a great value that He was willing to sacrifice everything so that you can be with Him for all eternity.
Sacrifice does not earn us eternal life. Faith is what God requires of us for salvation. Even so, faith will lead us to live sacrificially.
God was willing to sacrifice everything for you. What are you willing to sacrifice for Him? What is it that God is asking you to sacrifice? Do you place a greater value on being with God, or on what He is asking you to sacrifice?