The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “sacrifice”: because “no” could save your life. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “sacrifice“.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Suggested applications for meditation on “sacrifice”:
Jesus said that following Him would mean taking up our cross, so we’ll have to sacrifice selfish desires that conflict with His.
Maybe your workout partner is weaker or stronger than you. Sacrifice your pride and change the weights for their sets with a good attitude. If you’re running, you might need to ask them to slow down for you. Or if you’re the faster one, you could wear or carry light weights and run at their pace. And you may need to be flexible to accommodate the times that they can work out and sacrifice your perfect time to exercise.
The type of routine that you prefer might also need to change based on the group’s goals. Does most of the group want to lift, but you want to run? Do they want to burn fat but you want to build muscle? What would be good in Jesus’ eyes?
Remember, God made us for relationship, not for individual preferences. If you’re creative, most of the time you can find ways to meet the needs of your body and still support your brothers and sisters in Christ. Our attitudes and actions of love must be more important to us that any other ‘achievements’.
When it comes to money, the Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver. The same truth should apply to giving our time and even our sweat. Yes, sacrifices hurt, but think of all these physical sacrifices as an offering of spiritual worship, giving them completely to Him for His pleasure. This can help you begin to think of sacrifice in a whole new light.
There are many other ways to live sacrificially in the Body of Christ. You could leave that last bit of food on the table for a loved one – even if they don’t take it immediately. And if no one wants it, maybe you could save it for a creative soup or casserole or even put it in a pet’s dish. And if that doesn’t work, think of it like alcohol: too much will incapacitate you from doing other things that are more important. Consider the alternative of wasting it to “waisting” it. Will you really benefit more from putting it around your midsection versus putting it in the trashcan? Do a gut-check and ask yourself, “Could I still get up from the table and play with my kids, help my spouse, or give my best in an emergency?”
Because so many Christians (including me, at times) have confused the American dream with God’s design, we often tend to think of sacrifice as a bad thing. God doesn’t call us to sacrifice because He’s some sort of cosmic kill-joy. He knows that stuffing ourselves with the things of this world will eventually kill us. God loves enough to tell us the truth – which includes “stop doing that!” – even when we don’t want to hear it. Let’s love each other enough to do the same.
Loving each other can also involve helping each other sacrifice between our group meetings. For example, I know that I can tend to over-eat, which makes it a concern for my physical health. But it’s also a concern for my spiritual health in a war against self-indulgence and for the witness of Jesus’ Body. I would want members of my group to ask me, “How are you doing in your battle against over-eating?” If I pigged out at a meal I would want their assurance of God’s forgiveness, but I would also need their loving rebuke because my body is not my own. Feeding my ‘flesh’ (pun intended) could put me in an early grave and rob my family of a husband and father. It could also pollute my conscience before God and others and hinder my community of a godly example. Sacrifice says ‘no’ to self so we can say ‘yes’ to God!
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