Derek, August 29 2018

Which comes first: sacrifice or love?

The greatest form of love is to sacrifice your life for another.

True love and sacrifice of your own life are connected, they cannot be separated. They are one in the same.

The New Testament is full of encouragement to willingly lay down our lives for the sake of His Kingdom, the question is — which comes first.

This connection between sacrifice and love is crucial but also controversial.

We see extremes of both sides:

The love focused group is accused of a lack of death to self, missing Scriptural foundations, and an exaltation of emotion.

The sacrifice focused group is accused of works-based thinking, striving and angry judgement.

I’m coming to the conclusion that both must work together perfectly in a harmonious tension. Heidi Baker made this statement in a sermon back in 2003, “The Kingdom breaks forth for kids.”

The innocence of childlike wonder is required for us to be able to hold love and sacrifice together, equally, in honor.

It’s impossible to allow yourself to be loved in this way unless you sacrifice yourself completely. It requires a pruning and a cutting off from all things self, that are not of God. This is the sacrifice you willingly enter into as you place your trust in the perfect love of a Father.

Sacrifice becomes secondary once you’re caught up in this kind of love and wonder. You must have more. It consumes your thoughts and overtakes existing passions. Priorities get rearranged as you make room for Him. You realize that sacrifice is necessary and, as it says in Song of Songs chapter 8, you are so consumed by the fire of His love, “that it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice anymore.”

“Rivers of pain and persecution will never extinguish this flame. Endless floods will be unable to quench this raging fire that burns within you. Everything will be consumed. It will stop at nothing as you yield everything to this furious fire until it won’t even seem to you like a sacrifice anymore.” 8:7 TPT

The absence of either one, love or sacrifice, will stop the flow of the Spirit in your life. They must continue to both exist, completely, in perfect harmonious tension.

Emotion isn’t fruit, but neither is sacrifice nor our attempts at holiness.

In perfect love and sacrifice, we must present ourselves at the altar of His consuming fire, continuing to abide in the vine at all times. Allowing ourselves to be fully loved as we receive His words of affirmation over our lives: You are my beloved, my fair and pleasing one.

Knowing that the focus of our lives, abiding in Him at all times, will always require sacrifice:

Fruit, or no fruit, there will be cutting

Cutting is painful and this kind of talk scares people because it sounds law-based, or centered on fear and an angry God. But none of these could be further from the truth. Listen to how Heidi Baker describes this love-sacrifice lifestyle:

Because I don’t consider my life important. I consider it nothing. But for the knowledge of knowing Him and leading people into His Kingdom.
God loves you, but He wants you dead. Alive to Him. Dead to you. That your life, you don’t care anymore. You don’t care what people think. You don’t care if people know your name. You don’t care about any of it. All you care about is loving Him and making His love known.….
God we must have pure hearts. Burn, burn, burn! Sweet holy Jesus. Burn Lord, let your glory fall. We must have you Jesus. We want your all consuming fire.
We don’t care what it costs. We count our lives as nothing. Rubbish, rubbish, compared to the great knowledge of knowing you. Of serving you. Of giving you all that we are.

Her life is a beautiful demonstration of how love and sacrifice can work together in perfect harmony. And amazing fruit has come as a result.

This is the prayer for my life and for your life. May we be fully consumed by love and sacrifice — whatever it takes for your Kingdom to be known.

It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as I’m with you.

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