For the joy set before him he endured the cross... Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:2-3)
Want more joy in your life? You’ll find it in sacrifice. But before we go further make sure you know the difference between sacrifice and being a victim. Do you know someone who overextends himself or herself for their spouse, adult children, work, or church? Anyone who needs to be needed to gain self-acceptance and yet seethes with anger because no one appreciates them has fallen victim to a martyr complex. Joy comes through true sacrifice. Those who play the role of a martyr make sacrifices for the wrong reasons making themselves miserable.
Sacrifice is offering to God what he has already given to us. Jesus died to give us eternal life. True worship of him will involve an exchange. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus who died and was raised for us. We present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, which is our spiritual worship. We become God pleasers instead of people pleasers. We become authentic people who can stand for righteousness and not give way to the corrupting influences of this world. Our value is that God created us in his image and we reflect his likeness by the choices we make, particularly the hard ones.
Worship begins in the heart, but one cannot say he worships God while he consistently sins with his body. The condition of your life is the byproduct of who you worship. On the cross, Jesus made the most significant exchange for us for the joy set before him. What do we exchange in response to the amazing reality that on the cross Jesus took our sins and bore the punishment we deserve? We have but one life and we live it for him no matter the sacrifice it requires. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in the morning!