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Ramadan Mubarak, Day 24: Fasting and Sacrifice

Why everybody esteems personal sacrifice to benefit others

by Bob Kozal


Seeing the Sacrifice

Daily my wife of 20 years performs many acts of sacrifice, not only for the ones she loves but for strangers as well. She has also sacrificed her career ambitions by accepting other roles to free up time to assist others. It comes down to the fact that she sacrifices her own wants and desires to help make others’ lives better. Often these sacrifices are not seen, or they are not recognized for the depth of the sacrifice by those she is serving. But her purpose in sacrifice is not for her benefit. Her purpose for sacrifice is to make someone else’s life a little better, expensing it against her own life.

The purpose of her acts of sacrifice is very different from the purposes of the sacrifices found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible (Tawrat and Injeel), yet the cost is similar. The Old Testament (Tawrat) has many stories of sacrifice, including Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son and the substitution of the ram on the altar. The Old Testament dedicates many passages to how sacrifices are to be carried out and the reasoning of those sacrifices. Often the Old Testament sacrifices were performed as an offering of worship to God or to ask for forgiveness, but the cost in those sacrifices is similar to the sacrifices performed by my wife, usually in the form of humility, time, and resources (in some form).

 

Being the Sacrifice

Usually, when one speaks of the ultimate sacrifice, they are referring to the act of giving one’s life for another. Scientists cannot determine why we would give up something that would normally be beneficial to ourselves in order to help someone else. The sacrifice of our own lives runs counter to all of our supposed biological and emotional impulses. But it isn't just the sacrifice of giving up of our lives that is confusing. I am referring to the small-acts-of-kindness sacrifices where we freely give away money and time that we would normally use to improve our own lives.

I believe that the concept of sacrifice is why it is hard for non-Christians to comprehend why Jesus, as part of the triune God, would come down to earth, both God, and man, and then offer Himself upon the cross to die for our sins.

 

We choose then to sacrifice.

So as we recognize the scale of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, to take all of our sins upon himself, our salvation through the cross is something we can never repay. Thankfully, God does not require repayment. And through this proclamation of Jesus as our Redeemer, we desire to communicate to God, to not only thank Him for His grace through the cross, but we desire to enter in communion with Him and deepen our relationship with Him. 

Fasting is one of those methods of fulfilling the desire of entering into communion with God. Throughout history, the Bible describes how fasting was used to ask for God’s forgiveness and to ask for His guidance. Jesus gave us the template for fasting when he fasted for 40 days (Injeel, Gospel of Matthew chapter 4:1-4). He used fasting to show us how we can be strengthened by being weakened, by drawing ourselves closer to God by drawing pushing ourselves away from our wants and needs, even the most basic needs. It is by sacrificing through fasting that we can draw closer to the One who has already completely cleared the way for communion with Him.



*If you would like to participate in a Bible study about this subject and similar ones, email us at comparingfaith@gmail.com or text 313.485.7153.

  • 8 June 2018
  • Author: Guest Blogger
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