A sacrifice motivated by devoted obedience to God

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A sacrifice motivated by devoted obedience to God
A sacrifice motivated by devoted obedience to God

Africa-Press – Cape verde. Idd ul-Adha, also known as the feast to sacrifice, is very central to the inter-religious dialogue among monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). The Qur’an and the Bible give an account of Abraham, obeying God’s command to sacrifice his son. God was testing Abraham’s trust in Him.

Abraham’s past the test, trusting that God could bring his son back from the dead. God, thus, made a covenant with humanity.

Obedience is described as a moral attitude that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command. Spiritually, it is the response of someone who is in a relationship of trust with God. It means letting God be God and staying in relationship with Him as we gain dependence on Him, and as we surrender to His will. In return we find that blessings always follow. Jesus promised a hundredfold to whoever leaves everything to follow Him (Mark 10:30).

We express our devotion to God through a passion to obey, a spirit of humility, and a servant’s heart. Although King David lived imperfectly, his desire was to do what God commanded. True devotion to God also lies in worshiping Him without placing any demand before Him.

God recommends obedience over and above sacrifice, because to obey is to surrender one’s will to God’s will (1 Samuel 15:2). It involves not only doing what we have heard God tell us to do; but doing it with a loving attitude. This level of personal sacrifice may be invisible to man, but it is always visible to God.

Sacrifice as a religious act can be merely an outward performance of a religious duty. God chastises people who are quick to offer up sacrifices to Him, yet their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8). All of our good deeds have little meaning to God if our hearts are not right.

Disobedience, on the other hand, shows misplaced fear, misplaced pleasure and misplaced praise. It is an act of rebellion and a form of idolatry. Such was the nature of the sin of Adam and Eve.

The Bible identifies several kinds of sacrifices that please God. The sacrifice of righteousness; where we become bonded to righteousness instead of worldly lusts. The sacrifice of joy, and not of force; made in anticipation of the heavenly and everlasting joy. The sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite heart; where pride and pretense are never seen or even felt. The sacrifice of thanksgiving to God’s for His greatness and marvelous deeds.

Prayer is, in its own right, a sacrifice of praise that belongs to God, and according to His will. We gain a new perspective of God’s greatness and of our human frailty (Hebrew 13:15). We are, therefore, expected to wait until the Holy Spirit tells us what to pray for, how to pray, and what to expect (Romans 8:26). More specifically, God is pleased whenever we reverently pray the “Our Father” prayer, given by the Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the perfect model of the sacrifice of obedience to God. He cast aside His deity, and He humbled Himself, even unto death on a cross; for the salvation of mankind (Philippians 2:7). He replaced the sacrifice of animals with His own Body and Blood. He commanded Christians to offer the same Eucharistic sacrifice.

Servant and inspiring leaders, after Christ, must be willing to make several types of sacrifices in order to transform their people. Marriage and family life entail daily sacrifices by each member. Chastity/celibacy is a gift from God; by which one’s heart is given back to Him completely, without human mediation (Matthew 19:12).

Monotheists recognize martyrdom to be the highest form of sacrifice. To be a martyr is neither to commit suicide nor a choice made by any human being, but rather the acceptance of God’s invitation and a total surrender to His will.

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