Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blessed Easiness

God calls us all to sacrifice. It's part of the gig. Some people seem to have to sacrifice and suffer much. The problem for me is that I don't want to sacrifice. I want things to be easy. It just doesn't seem fair that I, or my kids or husband, should have to go without or give up anything important. I'm supposed to love Jesus and he'll love me by bestowing blessed "easiness" in my life.

The more I read about the Apostles in the New Testament, the more I am realizing that sacrifice can't be avoided and must be sought after. Those men enthusiastically gave up everything from family to physical safety because they knew that doing the work of Christ was so much more important than anything this earth could offer.

And I have sacrificed things. I moved away from my family, kissed good-bye the thoughts of a high paying job or owning my own house. And sometimes I just want to wallow around in that for awhile and pat myself on the back.

Some Christians in the church today are being persecuted for their faith. In other countries they are being jailed or killed for their beliefs. In the meantime, I can be upset about the way a worship song is sung or the color of the nursery brochure.

I'm reading a book by John Piper called When I Don't Desire God. Generally, I feel like I am not smart enough to read his books but so far I am going very slowly and working my way through it. He talks about sacrifice and this is what he says:

Therefore, Peter called Christians to be so enthralled with the hope of glory that they would be willing to make any sacrifice now for the sake of knowing and showing Christ: "Rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:13). The final revelation of the glory of Christ will be the consummation of our joy. Every sacrifice will have been worth it. (page 61)

We'll all be asked to sacrifice different things, some possibly more extreme than others. And that will always be difficult. But if we compare it to the joy and glory of Christ, what sacrifice won't be worth it?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Joel and Jenn said...

First I have to say that you are amazing and I think do such a wonderful job of sharing what is truly on your heart.

You blog this time really hit home with me. This week our church challenged everyone to take on a 5-day Hunger Challenge. Basically eat like half the world eats everyday. The menu is rice, beans, flour torillas, and oatmeal. Besides experiencing what it is like for so many they encouraged everyone to take what they would have spent on groceries for those five days and bring it and it goes toward hunger needs in our area as well as overseas.

Today is day five for our family. It has been extremely eye opening. I'll email you some thoughts I had on it.

At the same time that all this started, I started reading the book called Do Hard Things by Alex and Bret Harris. They are teens writing to teens and encouraging them to be rebelutionaries in their world. I recommend it to everyone. It has really challenged me (I like to think I'm young at heart):) - I wish I would have read it as a teen!

Thanks again for your vulnerable heart!

Shan in Japan said...

Hey Michelle,
Thanks again for a thought provoking post.
I was just reading some of the blogs I follow and thought you might enjoy this one...
Have a great week!