Sacrifice - the cost of freedom
by Gini Crawford
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As America is about to celebrate its Independence Day my thoughts turn to the many sacrifices people have made to make our country free. There were our founding fathers who sacrificed their well-being, their wealth, even their lives for our freedom. Our men and women are over in Afghanistan and Iraq as I write this, yes, to keep our country free but also to give their lives so others can have the freedom we cherish. Some of you who visit this site are from another country, and I would imagine even if your country doesn’t have much freedom, you could still tell me some stories about the sacrifices people have made to bring freedom.
Below is an email I wrote to my son in April 2004, who at the time was a Marine officer in Iraq. This note exemplifies the cost of freedom.
I had no idea how many of your fellow Marines had been lost until I saw the “USA Today” newspaper article, on Friday. You must be very saddened but proud of what all of you have given and accomplished in Iraq this month. All of you were willing to give the ultimate, your lives, to protect each other. All of you were willing to give the ultimate, your lives, for people who are your enemy and don’t even understand or want in some cases the freedom all of you are giving your lives for. All of you exemplified what Christ did for us. He died for us, when we were His enemies and not wanting or even understanding the freedom He had to offer. (Romans 5: 7-11) I am proud of you! I am sure you exemplified “Semper Fi “ in every situation and did your best. You and your battalion have been an example to me, to live my life more fully for other Christians and for the lost. We Christians need to make “Semper Fi” our motto. I love you son, Mom.
Throughout the ages people have given their lives for another, and in many cases the underlining reason the sacrifice took place was for freedom. They died so another could literally have the freedom to live free. They sacrificed themselves so others could have the freedom to believe in what they felt was right and so on.
An uncle of my husband’s was killed in WW2, on July 10, 1945. I have a framed memorial that President Truman sent his parents after the war. What it says beautifully articulates what a sacrifice it is for a person to give up their life for the freedom of others.
He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, He lives - in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men!
Now we do know a lot of people who wouldn’t even sacrifice the time of day for anyone else. Yet there are the few, who dare to die to give freedom, and without them we would all be slaves to some type of tyranny!
I believe we would all agree that giving up your life for someone, shows you are in a special league few people are in. It shows that the person is unselfish and sacrificial since he gave the ultimate gift he could give, his life. It shows that person is truly a man or woman of valor - protecting and caring for people that in some cases he doesn’t even know or who could even be his enemies.
I am greatly saddened by a sentiment in our country this time in our history. It is that many people don’t seem to understand or care about what others had to give to keep our nation free. Yet we know from God’s Word what He thinks. In John 15:13, Jesus Christ gives them the highest of compliments - He says there is no greater love. In other words, there is no greater way of showing your love for someone than by dying for them. And I think you all know Jesus understands this type of sacrifice!
Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. NASB®
What makes a person willing to give the ultimate sacrifice, their lives? Well, the foremost thing that comes to my mind is, we are all created in God’s image. (As humans, God made us His image bearers (I am still awed with this!), so we could be in a relationship with Him.)
What does it mean we are created in God’s image? We don’t have all of God’s characteristics but we do have quite a few. We can reason and speak, and we have a will to choose, like God. We also have the power to act out our reasoning, our speech, and our choices, like God does. God has a personality so He created us with a personality. God has moral character, emotions, desire for relationship, the desire to sacrifice for and protect those He cares about, the want to be loved and to love, as well as the desire for mercy, justice, truth, faithfulness and so on. God created us with these things too. However they are imperfect in us, they are perfect in God! (Sin has marred these things greatly in us but we still bear His image in a general but very real way.) Of course God also has attributes we don’t have.
Maybe you are thinking, “OK, I got you about us being created in God image, but what does that have to do with people being willing to sacrifice their lives for others? We are only willing to sacrifice at any level because we are in God’s image and God Himself is willing to sacrifice! He was willing to be sacrificed for us (when we were His enemies) through Jesus Christ!
I need to add something very important before I end this devotion about sacrifice being the cost of freedom. We can’t compare any human giving their lives for others even their enemies, as equal to Jesus Christ sacrificing His life for all of us, who were His enemies! Jesus Christ is God and we are His creation. He had every right to receive our worship and our sacrifices, but instead the God who created everything that exists, who is self-existent, self-sufficient, sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing and always present, allowed Himself to be sacrificed for us!
Jesus dying for us brought us back to freedom! His death was the price for setting us free from slavery to sin. This is because before we are Christians, we could say sin was our slave master. We were enslaved to it and had no choice but to sin. When Jesus was sacrificed on the cross for our sins (not His) - He took God’s wrath directed against our sin, and our eternal punishment (hell) upon Himself, so we could be set free from the consequences our sin brought to us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:8-11 NIV
However, we all have a responsibility! Your responsibility is to believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. When you do this, you are set free from sin (past, present, and future) and are completely forgiven. You are set free from the consequences of sin to become His child and live forever with Him.
Life application: Jesus Christ does understand sacrifice! He does understand everyone’s need for freedom. He sacrificed His life out of love, so we could have life instead of death and could have freedom from bondage to sin, instead of being enslaved to a slave-master who brings death to all his slaves. You might want to thank Him for His sacrifice for your freedom by writing Him a thank you note. Read Romans 5 and 6
How much a person is willing to do or pay for something shows the worth that item is to the person. Since Jesus was willing to be sacrificed for us, this shows we are God’s most valuable possession! What do you think about the knowledge you are God’s most valuable treasure? Since God loves you so much, ask yourself, “How can I love Him back?” One way might be to sacrifice a half hour a day to talk to Him and let Him talk to you!
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