Should the christian life be a life of sacrifice for others just as Jesus did for us? Or should we live a self-centered life while also caring for others? For instance my life at the moment is a testimony to that. At a university studying so i can graduate to make my family and friends proud and to ensure a stable job for them . I remember doing some things for me but majority of my life was giving to others (even when i was a somewhat rude atheist) and taking from myself. I dont know if i was " born " that way but i always felt i was entitled to do it. To not let down the ones who count on me
Good question, Nick. Ideally, the best motivation is looking forward to future joy, as Jesus did. You may have seen this more than once, since it seems like I tend to post it fairly frequently:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 [That joy is us if we belong to him!]
But motivations can be complex and are not necessarily singular. There can be noble ones coexisting side by side with less than noble ones. For instance, when I went to med school, along with more than one good motivations, I realized after the fact that one of my motivations was to get away from a dysfunctional and toxic boss who would routinely, on the order of every three months or so, make me angry. My anger level would decay down to near zero and about that time, guess what, up it would spike with a new provocation. (One time I heard him referring to some the employees he managed as his children. Another time I heard him referring to them as morons. He apparently did not make the obvious causal connection. ) So changing my situation was not exactly a noble motivation, but neither was it illegitimate. It definitely was an unconventional way to get a new job, but it worked!
Yet sometimes there are none right?
I remember feeling purposeless and without any motivation to get up in the morning when I was studying electronics eight hours a day for eight or nine months straight when I was in the Navy. So yeah, I hear you. I haven’t got any brilliant advice except to keep on plodding as best you can. Hard work will ultimately pay off or a change in course may be required (been there, done that), neither being necessarily fun.
Thanks for this mr Dale. Needed a reminder
I agree that it is a complex question. Ultimately, we are called to love one another, and live a life of love for others as well as ourselves. That may mean sacrifice, but also means self-care.
If I look at what has motivated me in life, it no doubt has been a multitude of things, some good, some bad. There is the desire to meet others expectations, there is personal benefit, there is the desire to provide for family, and so forth. But in the end, I think our calling is to love, and see that love manifested in our lives.
Honestly is that love of rny family and friends that keeps me going. And God of course. So i guess mine motivations are on check. I cant say the same for my self care though
Thanks m. Jpm
We’re told to love our neighbor as ourselves, so that implies caring about ourselves also. But we are to have sacrificial love, being willing to put others before ourselves. We shouldn’t be “me, me, me”.
We should be looking for things we can do for others, in our congregation and in society in general. If we have a habit of doing that, focusing on others, we won’t fall into the trap of self love. That doesn’t mean ignoring our own needs though, nor our family responsibilities.
But that the essence of sacrifice ;Giving yourself for others.Caring not for yourself but for others.Be able to bear anything for others.
I find the title of the whole thread to be most curious (and suspect you probably meant “Living a life as a sacrifice for others” rather than “Leaving a life…”)
But even if so, the typo provokes an interesting conversation to have. Jesus did choose to lay his life down … even if only temporarily; because he did take it up again; meaning that life, and not death has the last Word. And that is the Christian hope.
Jesus also didn’t just throw his physical life away the first chance he got. He pursued self-care (time alone) away from the crowds even though crowds often succeeded in denying him his sought-after respite. And he would then set aside his own needs and attend to the crowd. But I also think we can reasonably conclude that he did succeed in getting such “alone with God” time as he did need, and he craftily avoided religious officials and police until his time had come. So to draw lessons from his example, I think we see somebody who was willing to - like the wheat seed - fall to the ground and die when it came time for him to do so, but he didn’t seek that out immediately, but only in the fullness of his time. The new seed springing up would have its own time to grow and mature in its own season. So don’t think that physical self-sacrifice is the only immediate call for the entire Christian life. We are called to life - not death, except when such death becomes necessary to us as we try to hold on too hard to such temporary things as we become attached to (even including our own physical lives, ultimately).
I dont mean literally dying for others to be happy .I mean sacrificing your interests
I feel like it’s framed wrong.
It’s not a battle between living a self fulfilling life doing the things you want verses giving up everything for others.
The reality is that we all mostly live the life we want that overlaps with the life we worked for. It’s perfectly fine to love a life pursing the things the are passionate about and doing so in a christ like manner. Giving your life up for Christ does not mean becoming a zombie of righteousness. Neither is it possible. A self centered life is not merely living a life of pursing the things you want. It’s doing so on a manner that lacks any respect or consideration for others.
There is also no reason to assume Jesus did not enjoy life as well. The Bible reflects a very small portion of his life and that very small portion of his life was barely covered. The gospels are not a biography of Jesus. They are a condensed version of his mission as a messiah. There is no reason to believe that Jesus did not also do things he wanted to do in the process. The gospels were not trying to write about his favorite foods, how he spent his evenings and if he preferred swimming to hiking.
With all due respect i disagree
Jesus had a purpose .He came here for a purpose i mean not to enjoy(this worlds)life
I think the gospels might weigh a bit in Mikrumm’s favor on this one, Nick … even despite the gospels not being a complete biography, I find it hard to believe that somebody who will attend a party (and apparently parties might go on for days) and make sure the wine didn’t run out … that isn’t going to be somebody puritanically refusing to enjoy having a good time with people.
That was one party. A wedding importantly. Also should we forget how the gospels tells us that Jesus had nowhere to lay his head and how alone sometimes he was?
I’m sorry … but trying to convince me that our Lord’s life wasn’t one full of joy (even laughter) is a bit of a hard sell. I do realize how some people may get that impression from centuries of tradition and stained glass showing saints and even Christ himself glowering down at us all, or (at best) maybe just looking a bit serene (never laughing). And certainly somebody hanging from a cross is in the midst of suffering of the highest form. But that is how he died - not how he lived. They would not have recorded Jesus telling jokes or enjoying a bit of humor because they probably figured there is more important stuff to get down once they realized they better start putting pen to paper. I fdon’t believe that somebody fully immersed in humanity as we all are and as Christ was would have lived a humorless life.
Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
And a lot of others verses imply that .Im in the different spectrum .Chirst life was full of misseries and redeption in my opinion .Plus what we are getting here is out of topic although an interesting topic as well .The question is what is the reason for you to b happy when your loved ones arent?What is the joy in that if you cant help them?
You can do that while also meeting your own needs. The sacrifice comes in when you could sit down to watch TV, but instead you get up and help a brother or sister or neighbor with something, because the opportunity has come up that someone could use your help.
Jesus ate meals. He didn’t starve himself so that everyone else could eat. He also wasn’t a glutton, taking all the food such that no one could eat. Jesus took time for himself to pray. He didn’t spend all his time being with others and helping others, though his life was definitely characterized by helping others. He met his own needs AND sacrificed for others.
Sacrifice doesn’t always mean giving up what you need. It’s often giving up what you want. Giving up some “free time” (or “me time”) to do something for someone else is a sacrifice.
Thinking about this reminds me of one of the elders at my church. If I call him with a spiritual struggle, it doesn’t matter what’s going on, he’ll stop and listen and talk to me about it. He’s spent a lot of his time studying with me when I fell into atheism and was trying to find my way back. 2.5 years later, he still studies with me regularly to help keep me focused. And if I had a physical need, such as my car breaking down or a tree falling across my driveway, he’d help out if asked. I’ve seen him sacrifice his time for me and many others in my congregation. He’s a very giving person. At the same time, he tries to keep Friday night free as time to spend with his wife. Now if some emergency happened and he was really needed, he’d give up that Friday, but for most things, he’s able to schedule things for another day. Doing that doesn’t negate the sacrificial life he leads in helping others on a regular basis. Most people don’t spend half the time caring about others as he does.
If you’re caring about yourself and ignoring the needs of others, that’s being selfish. If you’re meeting your needs and meeting the needs of others, seeking opportunities to help others, you’re making sacrifices to do so. And that is certainly what the Christian is called to do. And when you seek out people to help, you find yourself not so focused on your own problems or worries. The focus is taken away from self.
1 Timothy 6:17:
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
So it’s ok to enjoy things. The Bible doesn’t teach asceticism. But we need to have our focus outward, not inward.
Most feel some need to contribute in some way to the lives of others. It is a big part of our feeling of self worth. But we have many ways of doing this according to our own particular collection of talents and personality traits.
As Christians reading the words of Jesus we cannot read far before we encounter a pretty clear call upon us to help those in need. So I don’t think we can ignore the call to be a good neighbor or against turning a blind eye to injustice, neglect, or those in distress.
But to live a life of sacrifice is a bit different from this and I do think we should at the very least align our understanding of what is great to the teachings of Jesus enough to understand that if we would be great then this is in the direction it lies. But motivations are important, not only for Christianity but also for success in doing such things. The former would warn against us doing such things as a means to buy our way into heaven and the latter would warn us that we should do this out of a genuine concern for the people you are helping.
A “fake until you make it” approach can only take you so far, and considering the difficulties involved burnout is a real possibility. Taking some time to consider what you need from life is definitely needed. I am reminded of the explanations on an aircraft about putting on oxygen masks. First you need to put on your own before helping anyone else. And this is only one example of how you need to take care of yourself first before jumping into the task of helping others.