When I was a little girl, I attended a church that encouraged going without something during Lent. I always picked chocolate. It was, and still is, my favorite food. It is a food group, right? Of course.
But I hadn't sacrificed anything for Lent for a long time. But this year, I felt invited by the Holy Spirit to participate. And after wondering what the Lord might desire, I sensed it was to limit my eating; not picking one food to sacrifice, but to eat less with the thought of how Jesus limited Himself by coming to earth.
Remember Philippians 2:5-8?
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (ESV).
Although Jesus perfectly emptied himself, I've done a poor job of limiting my food intake over these several weeks. I've faced my lack of depending upon the Spirit's help for self-control, but I've also meditated on what it might have been like for Jesus to come to an earth that is so far "less" than the glories of heaven. Tweet that!
What kind of a sacrifice did the Son of God face being a human? Did he ever think anything like,
- This meal is nothing compared to the feasts we have in heaven.
- This sunrise is nothing compared to the colors of heaven.
- The clothes we wear are nothing compared to the radiant robes of righteousness everyone wears in heaven.
- We never have these aches and pains in heaven.
- No one ever stumbles on a rock in heaven.
Well, I could go on and on. Have you ever thought about all the bad things on earth we take for granted—and we'll never experience in heaven? And the good things we experience on earth that are only a small degree of the goodness we'll experience in heaven? Doesn't it make heaven so attractive? And Jesus' sacrifice so meaningful?
And to think Jesus was willing to sacrifice all the glories, joys, and blessings of heaven to order to obey His Father and show His love for His Image Bearers on earth. Tweet that! And not only to sacrifice but to experience the pitiful, painful, grueling death for our sins, though He was sinless and did not deserve any mistreatment at all.
Even though I haven't limited my eating as much as I could, I have become more aware of Jesus' sacrifice in leaving the fullness of His heavenly home. And I'm so grateful that He was willing to experience "less" in order that you and I can enjoy "more" when we reach heaven (and the abundant life here on earth).
And now I'm going to go have some chocolate!