Surrendering ourselves to love God is not giving things up for God so much as giving ourselves to God. — Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed
To be a Christian is to live sacrificially. To say it differently, the Christian accepts dying as a way of life. Jesus says the way to true life is in giving of yourself, in laying down our identities that are rooted in image or wealth or sexuality or occupation…really,anything other than the cross.
And the cross is where all of this culminates, at least for Jesus. The cross stands in the middle of human history as an enduring icon of sacrifice. Scripture tells us that Jesus, in his humility and obedience, willfully (even joyfully) endured His cross (Philippians 2.5-11; Hebrews 12.2). What does it say to us that the definitive moment of human history was not an act of power, but of powerlessness; not an act of acquiring, but of emptying. The cross is sacrifice writ large.
But the cross is also the culmination of a life of sacrifice for Jesus. In Gethsemane he prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.” But that prayer had been battle-tested in Jesus’ life time and time again. In the wilderness temptation, when the Pharisees plotted against him, when people turned away from his ministry in droves thinking he was a mad man or — even worse — an agent of Satan, Jesus demonstrated unwavering resolve to the will of the Father. It was the ordinary, every day decisions that Jesus made that helped prepare him for Gethsemane and Calvary.
Lord, may your will be done in us, as we struggle with the hundreds of small sacrifices you call us to every day.