"Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2 NIV)
When Mary used her hair to rub perfumed oil down between her Savior’s toes, the disciples only whiffed the aroma of waste: “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor” (Matthew 26:9 NIV).
But Jesus suggested such a great sacrifice leads to great influence: “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13 NIV).
Perhaps Jesus could smell the sweet fragrance of Mary’s sacrifice because he knew that love finds meaning in sacrifice: “We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers” (1 John 3:16 GW).
Perhaps, in Mary, Jesus could smell “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” a life “poured out like a drink offering” (Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 4:6 NIV). We become living sacrifices when we no longer see the waste of giving to others; instead, we see the gift we give to others.
The Holy Spirit presses us toward radical transformation, where, instead of seeing sacrifice, we see opportunities to love; instead of seeing perfume wasted on the floor, we see ourselves like Jesus, prepared for burial, ready to be “crucified with Christ,” so that “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Matthew 26:12; Galatians 2:20 NIV).
You may be hitting one of those “I can't, but God can” moments, but our brother, Paul, reminds us that God gives us the grace required to become living sacrifices, and he places the Holy Spirit in us to create us holy and pleasing to God.
“Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV).
Talk About It
What do you think it means to "give our lives for other believers"?
What acts have you considered a sacrifice that should actually be a gift of love? How does it change your attitude about your responsibility when you change your perspective this way?
Jon Walker’s new book, Breakfast with Bonhoeffer, is a story of God’s faithfulness during struggles with bipolar disorder, divorce, and economic uncertainty.
This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.