"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

2/20/12

Giving Something Up

God has given to us abundantly - more than we could ever want or need. Even those of us in poverty have more than we could possibly deserve - life itself, and, if we are saved, eternal life. Many of us, of course, have more: much, much more.

Could you imagine giving it all up? Your home. Your family. Your laptop. Your clothing. Your friendships. The food in your refrigerator. Your car. Everything you value on earth.

I'm not ready to do this, and I'm guessing most of you, if you are honest, aren't either. There might be someone you'd give all these things up for: a spouse, maybe a son or daughter, or perhaps a parent. But it would be a hard decision, wouldn't it?

But what if you were asked to do this - to give up everything - for someone who didn't like you? Would you be willing to make such a sacrifice for someone who would be glad to see you dead?

Christ did - and He gave up even more than that.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
He gave up His life, His possessions - and even His connection with God the Father - so that we (those who were still sinners, and hated everything about God) could be in a relationship with Him.

In seven weeks, we will all celebrate Easter, remembering all Christ gave up for us, and his triumphant resurrection from the dead on the third day. Because of all He gave up, we can be in fellowship with Him.

Two days from today is Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. While many Christians do not necessarily celebrate Lent as it is in Catholic and other Christian denominations, the idea of giving something up during this time of reflection on Christ's life, death, and resurrection is becoming more widespread. And I, for one, don't see it as such a bad thing.

A favorite food? An enjoyable activity? Some piece of technology? These seem like small sacrifices compared to my suggestions earlier, don't they? And even smaller when we see what Christ gave up for us. And every time you wish for that "thing" you gave up, you can remember the sacrifice God made so you could be saved.
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How often do you ponder Christ's sacrifice for you? Do you generally give up something for Lent? Will you this year?

Comment below, and/ or stop by Living by Grace and we can chat a bit!

Traveling Rough Roads With God's Strength

6 comments:

  1. This past weekend I went to the CWG writing for the soul conference and one of the speakers shared stories of losing loved ones. He'd lost a fair number of close friends and had experienced great pain and struggle in his life. After delivering a powerful message on the purpose of suffering, he reminded us we'll never endure what Christ did for us. When we keep our eyes on Him, on what He did for us and longs to do through us, the other stuff is easier to handle.

    Thanks, Jo, for reminding me of God's radical love for me. May I keep that on the forefront of my mind and may everything I do be in gratitude for what He's already done for me!

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  2. I was just thinking/praying along these same lines this morning, realizing that when I cling to my desires, even those that seem good and natural, without submitting them to God, I run the risk of getting out of His will. I've got quite a few things I need to set aside this Lenten season.

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  3. Last night's message was on laying down your "Isaac" --whatever it is you hold so close that you won't give it over to God. I've been mulling it over since then... What is my Isaac?

    For years Lent was always just a Catholic "thing" that preceded Easter but the more I've thought about it over the past few years, the more it makes sense to me. Definitely something to this!

    Thanks, JoDear.

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  4. I didn't even realize that Ash Wednesday was this week.

    I also think that it can also be about becoming more of who He has called us to be. Maybe, seeking to become more of a giver. Taking the focus off of self and be more aware of the needs of others.

    Peej, ""Isaac" --whatever it is you hold so close that you won't give it over to God. I've been mulling it over since then... What is my Isaac?"
    Wow, definitely something to ponder.

    Fantastic post, Jo!!

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  5. Great food for thought. In comparison what Christ was willing to give up for us whatever we give up is small.

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  6. The best thing is that we don't have to give up anything. We don't have to suffer on purpose. Christ paid the full price for our sins - we are children of the King - co-heirs with Christ. We don't have to be paupers. We may be called to suffer, for His sake, but I don't see where we are called to create suffering. There are enough trials and tribulations send our way by the Evil One without inviting them. Such can lead to false humility and pride. Instead - let us give thanks for what we have - abundant life - and leave the lessons to God. He is not interested in our chocolate, food or good works - obediance is better than sacrifice.

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