Have you ever received as a gift something that you wished night and day for – something that you knew you could never pay for? It could have been a state-of-the-art computer, a designer dress, an expensive luxury car or even a breath-taking vacation you dreamed about. However, a couple days after receiving this precious gift you start to begin to feel its worth slip out of your mind. There is nothing wrong with the gift – the computer is still glossy and fast, the designer dress is still elegant. the car is still shiny and the vacation was perfect, but your mind starts to wander and crave the next new thing! The giver of the gift might even still be paying the mortgage/hire purchase payments on the gift, but your mind starts to wander and crave the next new thing!
In my experience I have found that this has happened to me and I have met many people who testify to this phenomenon. This quick devaluation/undervaluing of the gift/sacrifice is not only experienced in our minds with earthly possessions. The most precious gift – the gift of salvation – the gift of totally trusting my life to God after God sent His Son Jesus to rescue me from satan, and my sins in all its forms is sometimes undervalued in my mind.
No one can begin to even quantify the sacrifice that Jesus made for this world. However, at times we find ourselves being challenged to reinstate in our minds how great this sacrifice is. The power of rejoicing and praising Jesus, is that it allows me to reinstate in my mind how deep and rich life has become just because Jesus died and rose again for me.
How to overcome thoughts that undervalue Jesus’ sacrifice?
If I begin thinking that Jesus didn’t really go through anything on the cross then I immediately turn to Matthew 27 and I keep reading till I get to Matthew 28:20 and then I turn to Isaiah 53 and read the entire chapter. I am particularly amazed by the depth of Jesus’ humility in Matthew 27:29-31 – “And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.” (NASB) and Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (NIV)
If I am tempted to doubt what Jesus says and His power to do what He said He would do – I immediately focus on Matthew 28:18 which says “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (KJV)
If I start to feel that God is not able to forgive and cleanse me of all my sins – I turn to 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (KJV)
If I find myself wondering whether Jesus’ sacrifice is powerful enough to give me the victory over every temptation – I check out 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (KJV) Then I turn to Romans 10:13 where it says – “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (ESV)
If I am hearing myself complain about the trials and sufferings I go through and begin to feel that because Jesus died I should be exempt from any trials, suffering, hard times or challenges – I go to 1 Peter 4:12-13 – “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (NIV)
If I begin to think that because Jesus died I now have a license to do what I want whether it is good or bad, I take a look at Romans 6:1-4 – “What should we say, then? Should we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Of course not! How can we who died as far as sin is concerned go on living in it? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into union with the Messiah Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, through baptism we were buried with Him into His death so that, just as the Messiah was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too may live an entirely new life. (ISV). I also turn to Hebrews 10:26 – “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,” (NIV)
If I am tempted to withhold my praise from Jesus for His sacrifice, I go to Psalm 105:1-3 –
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. (NASB)
In this world there is no greater pleasure than to rejoice in and be inspired by the power and reality of Jesus’ sacrifice in my life and in yours!