The joy that comes with daily sacrifice to Christ only makes sense in the light of the cross. It should be our joy to say, “Your will, your way.”
The world sees the Christian life of sacrifice and says to the Christian “Stop giving up all of your rights and privileges. You must be miserable!” But, Christians have experienced the paradoxical joy in giving up their lives to someone else, in dying to self and living for Christ. As Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Sure it’s not easy at first, the dying to self thing. Paul also said, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:14-15) We are sinful beings who even when we know the freedom of Christ still long to satisfy the desires of our flesh. This is why we must daily lay down our lives.
Letting go of your pride, giving up all your rights. Take this life and let it shine.
So, how do we do this, practically speaking? Well, we do it by inviting Jesus into our day to day life. There is a moment in each Christian’s life when they make a decision to believe Jesus is the Son of God. This is huge. This is our salvation. But in order to know God, we need to make a conscious effort to choose Christ every day like we did in that one salvation moment.
As we accept this discipline, we will see that the sacrifice gets a bit easier with time, and the joy of the sacrifice begins to outweigh the shame of sin. We choose to submit to the leadership placed in our lives, rather than fight it. We choose to call our sibling or parent back even though they are difficult to talk to. We choose to end the relationship that is pleasing to the flesh but is devastating to the spirit.
Eventually the thought of not owning ourselves but actually belonging to someone else will be the only thing that makes sense. Left to our own devices, we have made some very poor decisions that have placed us in bondage to something or someone. But left to Christ’s guidance, we feel the freedom of our lives and are joyful that life is no longer up to us. We are relieved to no longer be living for ourselves and instead to be a part of a much larger story.