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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sacrifice

In the game of baseball, there is a strategy called a sacrifice bunt. This strategy is used to advance runners already on base into scoring position (second or third base) when there are less than two outs in the inning. The batter deliberately bunts the ball knowing that he likely will be out at first base. In other words, the batter is sacrificed in order to help his team. A sacrifice is giving up something of value to yourself (in the case of the bunting batter, a hit) for the sake of something more important (winning the game).

When we give our lives to God, we are providing a living sacrifice, one that is both holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). What does that living sacrifice look like? It is a life that is not conformed to the world, that is not swayed by worldly thinking, but rather a life transformed through a mind renewed by the Holy Spirit, a mind that is able to discern God's will, to know and understand what is good, acceptable, and perfect in His eyes (Romans 12:2). It is a life that is offered in service to God, doing what is good and sharing what He has provided. This is a sacrifice that is pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:16).

We can also offer a sacrifice to God in the form of praise. A sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips that continually acknowledge and praise His name (Hebrews 13:15). Praising God is something that we were created to do. As believers, it is how we will spend eternity. But, what makes our praise a sacrifice? Offering praise to God is easy, right? That may be so, and it certainly will be true in heaven. Praise is a sacrifice when it is offered even through life's struggles, through our trials and tribulations.

When we are going through a serious illness but still offer our praise to God, that is a sacrifice. When we are in a financial crisis but continue to praise Him, that is a sacrifice. When we are grieving because of the loss of a loved one but offer Him praise through our grief, that is a sacrifice. There will come a day when these struggles will no longer exist. There will be no tears, no sickness, no death, no mourning, and no pain. All those things will pass away (Revelation 21:4). But on this side of eternity, those things still exist. When we praise God through these things, our praise is a sacrifice, one we can be sure is pleasing to our heavenly Father.

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