Jesus, "An Offering"
Now comes the more difficult part of this knowledge, and it's found in Ephesians 5:1-2. We will read these scripture referrences from both the KJV, and the Amplified Bible:
And, in the Amplified Bible:
THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance Eph 5:1-2 Amplifed Bible).
Here's the difficult part. We are instructed to live in like manner, as did Jesus. We are instructed to be followers of God, living a life as dear children. The instructions in the word of God go on to tell us that we are to love as Christ loved. "Well", you might say, "that shouldn't be too difficult". It would be nice if that were true, but there are those times when someone may be in opposition to us, or we may even be facing some rather serious battles with an enemy. So, how are we to handle such enemies? What do the above verses tell us? They tell us that we are to walk in love, even as Christ loved. And how great was His love for us? His love sacrificed His very own life for us ... yes, His life was sacrificed for you and me, and for all who would (and will) come. Are we yet to the place where we can say we would be ready to sacrifice our own life for the benefit of another? Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not necessarily talking about dying, and leaving this world, to enjoy the wonders and glory of heaven. I'm talking about right here, in this world, and our remaining in it, sacrificing our lives for the sake of others, by putting others before ourselves, making them our priority. Are we so filled with the love of Jesus, the very one Who, to us, was AN OFFERING, that we esteem and delight in one another, giving up ourselves (our wants, our desires, our plans, etc.) for our brethren? Sure, for our brethren, maybe we might ... just maybe. But, how about for our enemy? How about that one who won't speak to you, or the one who wrongfully judges you, in regards to your walk with Christ? Or, how about that one that stole something of value from you, or intentionally set out to hurt you? Can you yet love her/him, though that one wrongfully invaded your life? I could go on and on, and take the list of things to forgive to a much more difficult level, but I won't. Let's face it, we all know the areas within our hearts, that we yet struggle with. I know in my own heart, there is much work yet to be done in this area, as I am not yet in such a place of unconditional love, but, I want to be, and this I know ... there is hope! I believe as we open our hearts to the Lord, and are open and honest with Him, about the true person within, and are honest with ourselves as well, and too, as we submit to, and confess to Him our need for such divine love to enter and fill our hearts, with God, praise His name, "all things are possible".
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23 - KJV).
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever -- But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you (John 14:16,26 - Amplified Bible).
He (Jesus), Who "offered" His life in our behalf, promised He would never leave nor forsake us, and even upon His death and resurrection (now being seated at the right hand of God, His Father) has kept His promise to us, through the means of the Holy Spirit. He did not leave us alone, or comfortless. In fact, considering that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby, we have the promise that by the work of the Holy Spirit within our lives, the work of Christ will be completed in our hearts, and this being so, because He (Jesus), our "OFFERING", sent the Holy Spirit in His place, to represent Him, and act on His behalf, within each of our lives.
It is my hope to grow even beyond my thankfulness to Him, Who was the for my life (that I might be saved and set free), that I, myself, might have a heart like His, a heart that would walk in willingness to offer (even sacrificially) my life to others, that they too could experience the liberty only Christ can bring. Oh, to have a heart like His. Please join me in prayer, and let's ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work within our hearts ... the very work the Father sent Him (the Holy Spirit) to complete.
Father, we come before You and ask that You, through the intervention and work of Your Holy Spirit, would complete the work that You've begun within our hearts. Your word tells us this will be ... that such a work will be completed, even unto the day of Christ's return.
And I am
convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in
you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of
His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it
to full completion in you (Phil 1:6 Amplified Bible).
Grant such a divine work within each of us Lord, and mold our hearts into the very likeness of the heart of Christ, that we too, would be willing to no longer serve our own selfish desires, but rather to live a selfless life, always ready to serve and help another find liberty in Christ. As Your word says, we have freely received (freedom, through Christ), and we are to freely give (show others that same freedom).
And as you
go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand! Cure the sick,
raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without
pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give (Matt 10:7-8
We thank You Father, for hearing, and answering our prayer, in Jesus most wonderful and faithful name we pray, Amen!
May each of you walk in the peace, sweetness and presence of
God's Spirit, this day.
In His love, Marcia