Monday, June 24, 2013


This week's topic is sacrifice.

This is hopefully not a blog where you have to read every post to understand what's going on. But today, you need to read Friday's post before you read this one.

"Sacrifice is giving up something you want for something you want more." - original author unknown. But I have heard this at church as well as in the movie Beautiful Creatures.

"If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

"You can only be great at things you're willing to sacrifice for." -Maya Angelou

"The question isn't, 'Do you do what you want to do?' but 'Do you do what [God] wants you to do?' In this lies the opportunity to die." - David Nasser, A Call to Die

"Our struggle with excuses is the test of our commitment to Christ" - David Nasser, A Call to Die
"Life will test your commitment to your desires." - Pastor Charles Martin at Integrity's Voice of Victory Church

So I make regular sacrifices to follow God. I want Him more than a writing career.  I want Him more than a performance career.  I want Him more than attention from certain people.

I sacrifice sleep for work all the time.

But the question on the table is: do I want physical fitness more than any thing? I mean honestly.

Nasser says that when you live for the Kingdom of God, "Nothing else matters because, quite literally nothing else matters."

So what if God is calling me to improve my physical health so that I can reach people more effectively?  Nasser wrote, "above all else, God values our faithfulness to obey Him. Patient endurance is not all that exciting most of the time, and if we expect (and demand) spiritual thrills all the time, we will soon be disappointed..."

A question I am currently asking myself is: does this endeavor yield eternal dividends?    
There are levels of spiritual maturity - the most obvious ones being 1) living a life that honors God and 2) living a life that causes other people to honor God.

I think that I have a certain vanity about being overweight.  It's not a completely physical vanity, although I would never call myself ugly.  It's wrapped up in a more intellectual vanity that says, "Look at me. I have the best of both worlds. I am beautiful, but I am also so smart and self-actualized that I don't care if I'm over weight as long as I'm healthy."

I know that there are people who judge books by their covers and people by their appearances. What if my refusal - because it is refusal more than inability - to get fit is keeping me from being able to speak into certain people's lives? Maybe people who think that way are shallow, but am I only called to "bind up the broken-hearted," never to speak truth to the proud and vain?  I think not.

A minister, Kevin Wade, who I heard preach in April and whose sermon I listen to on CD in my car said that we ought to be walking, talking examples of the grace, goodness, and provision of God.

Am I?
God just got me a job that I've wanted for years. It was all Him. So maybe in that aspect, I am. But what about in other areas?

When we hear preaching, sometimes the Holy Spirit plants images in our minds' eyes to help solidify the concept God wants us to internalize.  When Rev. Wade was preaching that message, one of the main things on my mind was having a healed knee and being in great shape.

It's cool to say God is the most important thing in your life. And that can be true. God can be honored by your relationship with Him. But another level of honoring God, pleasing God, is letting your life, your light (Matthew 5:16) draw other people to Him. So if that's what He wants from me...I will give that too. 

"He is no fool to give what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliott quoted in David Nasser's A Call to Die

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