My greatest desire in life as a pastor is seeing people change to become more like our Lord Jesus. I call it “spiritual transformation,” thinking and living like Christ. This is why we are created in the first place. We are placed on this earth to live our life as Jesus would. God made us as his image bearers and Jesus is God’s perfect representation, his perfect image bearer. This means the more we become like Jesus, the better God’s image bearers we become, fulfilling our life’s purpose!
Then, what does it mean to live our life like Jesus? How can we think and live like Jesus, God’s perfect image bearer? One thing I know for sure is that we live a life of sacrifice because that’s what Jesus’ life was all about. I have been sending birthday cards to many of you the past several months using my stationery, and on it is one of my favorite verses of the Bible, 2 Corinthians 8:9 –
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
I truly believe that this succinctly summarizes Jesus’ life. He could have stayed with his Father in glorious heaven sitting on his royal throne, but he sacrificed all that to come down to this humble planet, taking upon himself the frail human flesh, limiting himself to time and space. After living a perfect, sinless life, when he didn’t deserve to die, he chose to die on the cross anyway to pay the penalty of our sin, making the greatest sacrifice that we have ever known or ever will.
Living a life of sacrifice is absolutely essential in becoming more like Jesus. Without it, we can never reflect the image of God in our life and we fail to fulfill our life’s purpose. That’s why it excites me when I see people coming out of their self-centered life and increasingly living a life of sacrifice!
I was deeply pleased this week because I ran into several groups of people who are trying to live a life of sacrifice. On Thursday evening, there were about 12 people who came out to church to paint the fellowship area in the gym. About a half were single and the other half were married with kids. Some of these married couples brought their kids with them and stayed until 9:30 or so painting the wall, and some dads came by themselves, leaving their spouse and kids alone at home, to serve for three to four hours at church.
There were also about ten praise team members who were at the trailer house practicing and preparing for Sunday worship service. In fact, they do this every Thursday evening for about three hours and every Sunday morning three hours before the worship begins.
I also saw two guys pulling into the parking lot in a pickup truck at about 10PM. They were just coming back from their one-to-one discipleship using The Arrival Kit. One brother who is married with lots of kids is discipling another brother who is single.
Then, there were about ten people who gathered together in the trailer house on Friday morning at about nine. I was wondering what was going on and asked them why they had come. They told me they were getting ready to go Willow Creek Community Church’s “Contagious Evangelism Conference” held at Fellowship of The Woodlands. All of them were taking their Friday off from work using their vacation day to attend the conference so they could be better equipped as Christ followers!
These are all precious pictures of what it means to live a life of sacrifice. These brothers and sisters have just become a little bit more like Christ through their sacrificial service! And amazingly, everyone that I saw doing various things for God seemed to be very happy!
When you sacrifice your time, talent and treasure for God’s kingdom work, that’s when you become more like Jesus and experience spiritual transformation. And this makes me extremely happy!
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