Sacrifice is something that can sound a bit heavy for most people. I'm not going to lie, part of me realises the hard meaning of this word. It means that if I sacrifice, I'm gonna loose out on something good. There is truth to this mentality, but the real fact is, you are gaining so much. Sacrifice is a principle handed down from the mouth of God from the very beginning of humankind on the earth.
And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
So from this, I could gather the following:
- Sacrifice is a commandment.
- Sacrifice is involved with worship.
- Sacrifice is an offering from us of our best.
So with just two small verses of scripture, we can see to the very core of what sacrifice really is. It is a central principle in the worship of God in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds, it is something godly. If I might apply it to Christian doctrine, the scripture continues to talk about sacrifice.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
So from the next couple of verses, we learn a bit more:
- The Saviour was a sacrifice.
- We conuct our own sacrifice in the similitude (likeness or similarity) of the Saviour's sacrifice.
- Sacrifice is somehow linked to grace and truth.
- Do all we do in the name of the Son (Like sacrificing...)
- Sacrifice is somehow linked to repentance.
So from here, we start to find some relevance to sacrifice for us. I really feel that as we sacrifice something, we are filled with grace and truth. That is, however, if we sacrifice for a reason. Sometimes we are forced to do without for some reason by another person. We can react positively or negatively. I can definitely say that when people are negative, they are not filled with grace and truth. When we truly sacrifice for out God in the name of Chrsit, we also gain spiritual ground for ourselves through repentance. When we make mistakes in this life, we know that Christ will overcome all if we follow Him. We show the Saviour that we are willing to follow Him if we sacrifice in the name of Christ. We become better people because we are thinking about things other than our immediate needs. We are becoming more Christlike through our actions.
In modern times, the Church doesn't sacrifice lambs or anything like that anymore, but there are many ways that we can sacrifice (like fasting). If you have been attending an LDS congregation long enough, you have probably heard the term "natural man" used a bit. Here is were it comes from:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
When we sacrifice, we "putteth off the natural man" and become at one with God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is done but putting God first through sacrifice and then letting the Holy Spirit enter into our hearts. When we get this right, we can enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost throughout our lives. We also a better prepared to take on life's challenges.
Sacrifice is a priciple I try to apply to my life every day. Sometimes it is hard to sacrifice in our lives. But every time that I have made a sacrifice, it has been worth it in the end.
I want to continue this topic some other time, as I have some personal experiences that I would like to share as well as some words from modern day prophets.