Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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RELEASE — equipped to serve
Terry R. Baughman
“For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends” (John 15:13 TPT).
The greatest gift is self-sacrifice. When we are willing to do without or give up something that is valuable to us so that another may receive the benefit or the blessing, that is a true act of love and the picture of sacrifice. The ultimate depiction of love is to care enough to give of ourselves so that others may experience joy, blessing, and grace.
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV). He reiterated the concept on numerous occasions. (See John 15:12, 17; 1 John 3:11, 4:7, 11–12.) He must have truly meant it, Love one another!
When we love enough, we love enough to care and to give to others. The ministry of Jesus was an example to His followers. They learned to love like Christ. They saw His willingness to sacrifice comfort for other’s healing, rest for their recovery, and His very life for the salvation of the world.
The road of discipleship is marked by ruts carved in the dirt by a heavy cross. The timbers chaff on the shoulder of the one bearing the load. But the words of the Savior ring clearly, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NIV). Yes, daily discipleship. Not just Sunday and Wednesday; not just special events, Easter, and Christmas … daily. The cross is our companion, our course corrector, and our constant reminder of the commitment to His purpose.
We are being equipped for greater discipleship and to help us help others along the path. Our willingness to serve comes out in our many ways as we reflect the Spirit of Jesus in our conversation, our character, and our conduct.
Some sacrifices are not difficult. It’s easy to cast off loneliness for connection and rejection for embrace. It may not be so easy to rid ourselves of carnality and lustful thoughts, but if we can see the value of the outcome we are much more willing to try. Whatever we give up we find a greater reward to take its place. The gift of Christ promises to bring, “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 NIV).
Jesus made it clear that the reward in the kingdom will far exceed the extent of the sacrifice. He said, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 NIV). Even in the face of persecution or in the depravation of loss, Jesus said, “Rejoice!” “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven” (Luke 6:23 NIV).
Walking with Jesus makes sacrifice a natural response as we learn to love others. It’s an endorsement of His calling imprinted on our hearts. It’s the seal of His Spirit living within. The proof and the preparation is revealed in our service. Paul said, “Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you” (2 Timothy 3:17 TPT).
“Their calling is to nurture and prepare all the holy believers to do their own works of ministry, and as they do this they will enlarge and build up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 TPT).