The Reason For Self Sacrifice

I seem to miss things sometimes.

Or at least it takes me a while to recognize that there can be, and normally is, more than one part to a thing.
Like knowing and understanding that there is more than “Thou shall not kill” than just the shall not part. Not only are we to not take life but there is an implicit command that we are to give life. 
It’s easy to become so convinced that we must die to self that we forget that there is another aspect that is part of the dying. And that is what it should accomplish, not just in us but in those around us that we are dying for.

Without that realization we make the act of self sacrifice a very self centered thing. And a self centered self sacrifice just doesn’t make much sense.

If we are in a situation where we can clearly hear the call to die to our own wants, desires, and needs then we must look for what benefit there is for the one that we are yielding too. What do we hope to accomplish with our death?

Christ’s death brought us much benefit…namely righteousness. If we are to be imitators of Christ then our self sacrifice should also bring benefit to the ones we are dying for. Our willingness to lay down our life should strengthen and enrich the righteousness of our community.

If a wife is merely letting her husband have his own way because she is tired of arguing then she is not practicing real self sacrifice nor is the husband receiving benefit from it. It will breed contempt and put up barriers that will hinder their relationship.

Here’s another way to look at it. A parent can sacrifice time, money, sleep, health, even other relationships to ensure that their children have everything they need or want. But if that self sacrifice does not spur their children to greater righteousness and faithfulness in their walk then it is for naught. All the parent has done is raise a child that thinks absolutely everything can be forsaken for what they desire. And that is an extremely dangerous thing to do to our children.

Righteousness has many facets one of which is doing the right thing with a right heart…motives and actions rightly ordered. The purpose of dying to self should be to pull those two things into alignment in ourselves and in the ones who we are dying for.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
Proverbs 10:32

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