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Finding Joy in Sacrifice

I remember it so clearly. It was back in 2016. I was in my garden, picking a few flowers for friends and savoring, probably for the last time ever, my sweet yellow raspberries. I started to cry because the Lord had made it clear that I couldn’t stay in my home and garden anymore because of health issues. I had to move to an apartment. Oh, how I was going to miss my beautiful garden!!!

At first, I began rationalizing—again. “Maybe I won’t have to move. If I could hire people, if…”

But I already had this conversation with God many times, and had accepted the fact that it was God’s will for me to move.

So I said,” Yes, Lord, I will obey You. It’s okay. I’m doing this for You. You have undeniably shown me that this is Your will.” I would emphatically and repeatedly say, “I agape love You, Lord. I am giving this up for You! Your plan is better. I accept what you desire for me.”

A deep sense of peace and joy filled my heart, as I purposefully determined to agape love my wonderful God.

Agape love is a selfless, unconditional, and sacrificial type of love. And it’s a choice. Although agape love doesn’t rely on feelings, it certainly includes them and produces better feelings.

I think the first time I began to understand that we can find joy in sacrifice was on the first anniversary of my husband’s passing. I remember how hard it was—and still is at times. Through my tears, God revealed to me that I could use this time of grief as an opportunity to sacrificially love Him. 

Instead of giving in to depression, resentment, or a pity-party mentality, I can choose to willingly comply with God’s plan for my life of being a widow. “Acceptance with joy” as my favorite character, Much-Afraid, in Hind’s’ Feet on High Places* would say. 

It is a sacrifice to offer praise to God during hardship, but such a sweetness of fellowship enters our soul that I firmly believe it is worth loving God in this manner.

 …Let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. (Heb 13:15 NLT)

God commands us to love Him with all of who we are:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mk 12:30)

Can we find joy in sacrifice?

Yes! Jesus did. (Heb 12:2) and He enables us to obey even this command. The joy we experience in obeying God when it’s hard and costs us something, stimulates us to continue living and loving Him sacrificially.

In this current season, I find myself in a similar position as I did in the past. I have to accept some very difficult things which the Lord has allowed into my life. I have to keep reminding myself—emphatically and repeatedly—that God is good and everything He does is good (Ps 119:68). I have to accept and choose to agape love Him in this particular time of suffering. I say now to my wonderful Savior…

“I agape love You, Lord! I accept and humble myself before You, the King of kings and Lord of lords. I will choose not to complain, stay discontented, and fall back into the pit of self-pity. I will cooperate with You so that Your joy will become my joy!”

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So my friend, what situation or trial are you currently undergoing where you need to choose to sacrificially love God? What attitudes can you change? What desires can you put on the altar? What sin can you stop habitually doing? Where has God clearly shown you what He wants but you are still struggling to obey?

See them as opportunities to return agape love to your precious Savior. Don’t fight against God. Cooperate with your loving Father. You won’t regret it – I promise!

Loving God His way is definitely worth it!!!

Go ahead and pray…

Right now—in this situation—I agape love You, Lord!

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*Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places, (Blacksburg, VA: Wilder Publications, 2010).
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
(NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Connie

    I love your honesty! Thank you, thank you! And I want to say to the Lord, “I agape love you, Lord! “But I feel like I’m not telling the truth, because I struggle to believe God loves me and I know I don’t love him in the way I long to. How have you come to a place of peace in telling the Lord you agape love him?

    1. Rose Noland

      Thanks Connie, for reaching out to me! You have no idea how much that encourages me! In answer to your question…

      Agape love doesn’t rely on how we feel. When we make the choice to obey God, especially when it’s difficult, we are showing God we agape love Him—whether we feel “warm fuzzies” or not. We are not lying because Jesus Himself said if you love Me you will obey me.
       
      I have come to this place slowly and it is still a struggle at times. What has helped the most is getting to know, in increasing manner, the character of God.

      Also remember that love is part of the fruit of the Spirit. You cannot love God in the manner He deserves without HIS enabling grace. So abiding in Christ the Vine is the answer to produce this lasting good fruit of loving God.

      Perhaps my 1st book, Our Knowable God: Learning How to Relate to Our Invisible Lord, will help you in your quest. You can learn more here: https://heisworthit.com/store/amazon/our-knowable-god/

  2. Carol Grumbach

    Dear Rose:
    Thank you !
    Through you and this particular message God has allowed me to see that rather than joyfully accepting what He has currently allowed in my life, I have been plotting, planning, and fighting my way FROM!

    I can at this moment say, I agape Love you my Lord,” as I apologize and repent from my rebellion

    God Bless you, Rose, in abundance with all you require to continue on your journey with HIM.

    1. Rose Noland

      Thanks, Carol, for letting me know that I was able to help you get to the wonderful place of agape loving God! He is SO WORTH IT!

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