Sacrifices that Please God
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13
Key Verse: Hebrews 13:16
And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
In a healthy marriage, each partner makes sacrifices for the other. Each person does things to please their partner, and sometimes it is not something that they particularly enjoy doing. Doing these things in our marriage does not make us “more” married, they are simply things partners do for a healthy marriage.
“Sacrifices that Please God”, our subject for today, are not things that make us “more” Christian. We become a Christian when we put our faith in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Sacrifices we make to please God are simply things that true Christ-followers do because of their personal relationship with Jesus.
Today’s devotion is a little longer than usual because I want to look at all the sacrifices listed in Hebrews 13. I hope you bear with me and that today’s devotion blesses you.
You will see that some of the sacrifices we look at match your giftedness and some match other Christ-followers’ giftedness; every Christ-follower sacrifices but often each in their own unique way.
The first sacrifice is Hebrews 13:1: “Keep on Loving each other as brothers and sisters”.
This applies to all Christ-followers. This sacrifice is not about having “loving feelings” for each other; it’s about how we treat each other. We love each other by our actions, which we can (and must) do with or without emotions and feelings.
The second sacrifice is Hebrews 13:2: how we “show hospitality to strangers”.
This takes many forms depending upon the situation. We rely on the Holy Spirit to nudge us and confirm the actions to take so we can show hospitality to a stranger.
The third sacrifice is Hebrews 13:3: to “remember those in prison”.
We all can do this, especially if we have loved ones that are incarcerated. But I have noticed that some Christ-followers feel a special calling to the jails and prisons as their missionary field.
The fourth sacrifice is Hebrews 13:3b: remember “those who are mistreated”.
All Christ-followers can practice this. Instead of going along with the bullies of our society, Christ-followers are to help others in need and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
The fifth sacrifice is Hebrews 13:4: “Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another”.
When married couples are in the honeymoon stage, this is easy and is not much of a sacrifice. However, as the years pass, Christ-followers are to honor their marriages no matter how tough the going gets.
God can and will forgive those who end up in divorce, but the goal of Christ-followers is to learn how to make their marriage relationship work. Our world sees divorce as the first step when they are unhappy. Christ-followers must see divorce as a last resort when all efforts have failed.
The sixth sacrifice is Hebrews 13:5: “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have”.
This one, especially for us Americans, is huge. Christ-followers must guard their hearts from the tendency to love money over and above God. Hebrews 13-5 promises that God will provide for us and never abandon us and Hebrews 13:6 tells us that there is no need for fear when God is on our side.
The seventh sacrifice is Hebrews 13:15: “let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name”.
As a sacrifice, this sounds a bit strange. Christ-followers find out, soon after conversion, that God does not make their lives a bed of roses. We still face tough times and must grip tightly to God, even when we do not feel His presence.
It is during difficult times that our praises to Him are a true sacrifice because we sometimes are in such pain that we do not feel like praising. We may feel like God has forgotten or abandoned us, but a Christ-follower knows by faith that this is not true. He never forgets or abandons us. One can consider that the offer of our praises to Him even when we may not feel like it is a sacrifice. When you do this, it truly pleases Him!
The eighth and final sacrifice is Hebrews 13:16: “do good and to share with those in need”.
This is a general sacrifice that all Christ-followers do to work at keeping our priorities in line with Jesus’s. Doing good and sharing with the needy is one of the top priorities in God’s Kingdom. Ask the Holy Spirit to sensitize your eyes so you can see the people that God wants you to help.
I love the benediction that ends the book of Hebrews. I have most of it underlined in my Bible. I hope you will take time to read Hebrews 13:20-21. I think you will be encouraged with the message it gives.
This benediction tells us that God is a God of peace, and that Jesus is a great Shepherd of His sheep. Our God can equip us with all we need for doing His will. He can produce in us every good thing that is pleasing to Him by the power of Jesus in us!
When I read these verses, I can relax in my relationship with Jesus. I do not have to worry about whether I’m doing enough for God or doing the right things that would please Him.
When I surrender to God, He promises that He will give all I need to live out His purposes for me. I am praying that you will claim these promises as well and live a peaceful and restful life in Christ.
Father, help me and equip me to offer the sacrifices that please you. Thank you for connecting me to the power of Jesus in my life. I pray all this in Jesus’s Name, amen.