The Gift of Self

LifeLink Devotional

Friday, December 7, 2018

Titus 2:11 – 14  11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, naval aviation forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack was almost a complete tactical success. This sneak attack against Hawaii brought an immediate reaction of unprecedented unity from the American people. Families from every class sent their sons and daughters to war, women joined the industrial work force, and no one was untouched by the effort to bring all U. S. resources to bear upon the war effort.

Young men and women signed up with the armed forces to protect their country against any further attempt to destroy their liberties. They were trained and commissioned to serve under commanding officers who would direct their every action. They were ordered into harm’s way, and they went. They went to Midway. They went to Normandy. They went to Guadalcanal. They went to the Philippines. They went to Okinawa.  They went to Iwo Jima. They went anywhere the enemy was entrenched and fought to liberate the people under the enemy’s control. They went because they had given themselves to the fight for freedom. They went because they were committed to a cause. The commanders only directed their actions. They had already given their hearts to obedience and their lives to a purpose.

In the spiritual world, when the enemy of God invaded God’s territory and took God’s people captive, God gave a command to His Son to go and set them free. God knew that His command meant certain death for His Son, but He sacrificed His Son for the cause.

Jesus was not an unwilling order-taker. He was not drafted for His duty, but rather He volunteered because He was committed to the cause. He submitted completely to His Commander, not out of obligation, but rather out of participation. He gave Himself for us. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:3 – 5, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Jesus gave himself to rescue us.

The war against liberty rages on in many arenas. Young men and women are still volunteering to give themselves for the cause of freedom. They are willing to die for you and me. They have chosen to give the greatest gift – self.

The spiritual war also rages on. Men and women of all ages are volunteering to give themselves for the cause of spiritual freedom in Christ. They are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to liberate people still caught in the bondage of sin and under the control of God’s enemy. They witness to their friends. They live according to God’s holy character and not the world’s social standards. They willingly go to dangerous lands and cultures to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They put themselves at risk of financial loss, personal pain, and emotional rejection for the cause of Christ. They do not obey their Commander out of obligation, but out of love. They fulfill their commission given in Ephesians 5:1 – 2.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children  and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

They are the heroes of the faith. Are you one of them?

Pastor John