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.