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Giving Up to Gain

What are you willing to sacrifice? The actors in the Avengers movies made sacrifices to play their roles. They worked long hours, endured demanding workouts, engaged in dietary restrictions, and wore constraining costumes and make-up. The actor who played Hawkeye reportedly fractured both of his arms in filming a different movie and had to play an archer in the Avengers…while his arms were not yet healed.

To sacrifice means to surrender or give up something for the sake of something else. What were the rewards for which the actors made their sacrifices? Wealth, fame and entertaining others. The three prizes are not wrong in and of themselves, but what the actors were willing to do made me think. They gave up personal comforts and conveniences for benefits that will eventually fade away. Wealth will be depleted, fame will fade and people will seek more entertainment elsewhere.

The stories of these actors raise a question for us as Christians: what sacrifices are we willing to make in order to gain a prize that will last forever? I do not like sacrifice. If I had my way, I would gain the desired end-goals while never having to experience the temporary discomfort of giving up something. But that is not the way Kingdom dynamics work. God calls His people to give up control of every aspect of their lives: time, money, relationships, dreams, goals, ambitions, bodies, resentments and much more. Doing so is not always comfortable; it downright hurts at times. This is especially true when one lives in the context of a culture that emphasizes personal comfort and conveniences. But the prize at the end will be so worth it.

Back to my original question. What are you willing to sacrifice? Chances are you sacrifice personal comfort to keep your job, your marriage, house or some other part of your life. But are you sacrificing for the sake of eternal things, too? Are you regularly giving up time to read your Bible and to pray? Will you go out of your way to invest in someone else’s life for the sake of the Gospel? What about fasting for a specific time frame in order to hone your focus on God and to hear from Him? Something probably exists in your life already that God has begun to speak to you about. Are you holding on or letting go?

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.[i]

Lord Jesus, You sacrificed so much for me. Give me the grace

to surrender to You those parts of my life which I have been

holding onto. Help me to see the bigger picture

and to know that what I gain will be far better

than anything I could ever give up.

In Your name I pray, amen.

[i] Romans 8:18 (HCSB)

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