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Life is full of choices, some of which are not easy to make. As followers of Christ, there are times when doing the right thing requires not doing (or sometimes not having) certain other things. When we face such choices, it is usually a waste of time to try to figure how to have it both ways. The fact is, we should be willing to give up some things for the Lord.
We live in a bountiful society where we are surrounded by good things that are very interesting. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have a right to have and do all we want, and that there must be some way to have it all and do it all without hurting our spiritual priorities. Such is not the case, however. There is simply too much out there. No Christian can have everything and do everything that strikes his fancy and still have the resources left over that the Lord's work deserves. Some choices have to be made. Some things have to be let go.
Someone has said that the good is often the enemy of the best. It is certainly so in matters that relate to eternity. If our heart is not so fully set on heaven that we are willing to relinquish any lesser thing in order to get there, it is not likely that we will reach the goal. Receiving the best (heaven) often requires a willingness to sacrifice that which is merely good (the pleasures God has placed in this world). Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt. 5:8). This means not only that we must purge our minds of anything dirty; it means we must sacrifice any concern, even if it is good, that gets in the way of our wholehearted pursuit of God.
Jesus made the point clearly in Mt. 16:25 when He said, "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." If we had to choose between heaven and our physical life, we should be willing to let go of even such a precious thing as our life! We must think like Paul who said, "Nor do I count my life dear to myself" (Ac. 20:24 NKJV).
This week, as we meditate on the Lord's word, let's concentrate on the concept of sacrifice. Let's see if we can't get a fresh understanding of the notion of "letting go" of activities and priorities that hinder our full dedication to the Lord and His work. It is vital for us and our children.
Monday: Matthew 16:24-26
Key Idea: Sometimes we have to make a choice between the Lord and other things.
Questions for Family Growth: What did the Lord mean when He said we must "deny" ourselves? What are some ways we might "save" our lives instead of giving them up for the Lord? If we refused to let them go, what would these things profit us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:11.
Tuesday: Luke 18:18-25
Key Idea: We cannot serve Christ if the material things we possess mean too much to us.
Questions for Family Growth: Think carefully: what was the "one thing" the rich young ruler lacked in order to serve the Lord? Why would he not do such a thing? How can we tell if we are developing the same kind of attitude?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:12-14.
Wednesday: 2 Samuel 24:18-25
Key Idea: What we give to the Lord should "cost" us something.
Questions for Family Growth: Why would David not accept the things that Araunah wanted to give him for the sacrifice? What does the word "sacrifice" really mean? What are some things we might have the opportunity to sacrifice for the Lord today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:15,16.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Key Idea: We will be willing to sacrifice any possession if we have first given ourselves to the Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: What good work did the Macedonians want to help with? Why might they have been excused from helping? What does it mean, in practical terms, to give "ourselves" to the Lord?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:17-22.
Friday: Mark 10:28-31
Key Idea: We never give up anything for the Lord without receiving better things in return.
Questions for Family Growth: What are some valuable things we might have to give up in doing the Lord's will? What are some things we might get in doing the Lord's will? How might the "first" come to be "last"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 12:23.