Goodbye Self Love
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
“I’m totally willing to sacrifice for others,” a man with whom I had crossed paths through the years told me one day. He was undoubtedly and undeniably an incredibly loving, compassionate, passionate, and caring man who exuded confidence and warmth in his profession helping people in a certain capacity. But there was a catch in how he defined sacrifice that resulted from what he believed – and from he did not believe.
“There is an exception when it comes to sacrifice,” he said. I can’t recall his exact words, but this was the gist of it. “I will not compromise loving myself when I sacrifice for others. I have to love myself first. If helping someone means I have to suffer, that I can’t be peaceful and positive, that helping someone infringes on me, that I lose something, then I know not to make the sacrifice.”
Merriam-Webster dictionary online includes in its definition of sacrifice, “to give up (something that you want to keep) especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” This man who did not believe in God nor profess Jesus as Lord defined sacrifice based on the understanding of this love-of-self-centered, sin-ridden, devil-serving world whose back is turned against God and that lives for itself instead of for God. He seemed to believe loving, compassion, giving, and serving are great as long as there is no loss, suffering, disturbance to, infringement on, or compromise of self.
The ONLY way to heaven rather than hell is by following Jesus Christ through repentance of sin, faith in Him as Lord, and a genuine turning to God and His ways manifesting in a lifestyle devoted to God. Following Jesus comprises DENYING self, taking up our crosses (Mt. 16:24), and the suffering that comes with SACRIFICING SELF in order to live for Him and love and serve God and others. Following Christ is NOT about self-love. It’s about sacrifice of self for Him. It’s about humbling ourselves before God, saying no to our fleshly ways and wants, laying down our lives for others in Christ’s strength, and learning to selflessly love and serve God and others no matter the suffering we may endure as we die to ourselves to live for Him. Our sacrifice and suffering are NOTHING compared with what Christ endured when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we can repent, believe in Him, follow Him, and be with God forever.
Are you sacrificing yourself for Christ?