While perusing through the plethora of Christian material, I discovered something glaringly absent. There were insights into family; marriage restoration; stewardship and finance material, but nothing about Prayer and Fasting. It provoked me to investigate books written about self-sacrifice and I found very few. Gethsemane where Jesus accepted the cup of sorrow was not found. Power over sin? check. Livin’ the Good life? check. Being an Overcomer? yes. I found the secrets to Giving and how we can expect grand blessings in return. What I did not find was Paul’s admonition that becoming a living sacrifice was called “reasonable.” I did not find the modern version of Abraham’s mountain trek to lay Isaac on an altar. It’s just too far from for our thinking.
American Christianity has absorbed too many prosperity sermons to yearn for less-than living. Paul’s view of life and death is a foreign subject to our religious culture. He said,“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We think that to die is sad and pitiful. Death is almost viewed as punishment against those that remain, except if our loved one is very sick and in pain. Then we say that it was better not to be in pain, but that is not Bible. The early church viewed death in Christ as the accomplishment of life. Hear the scripture. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. I offer a counterculture. It is Christocentric which offers Eternal life through sacrifice. It offers a crown through a cross and life through death.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole