I want to start off this article with this: as far as I know, I'm not dying any time soon. But even if it were to happen, I would be ready. Why? Well I guess I could list quite a few reasons. The first is that I have seen a lot, and done a lot of cool things in my life. I know I have "lived" more than a lot of people my age. The second is that I've made a lot of mistakes in life, but I have forgiven myself for those. I have come to terms with my past and am starting to look to the present and future rather than dwelling on my past. And the third and most important reason is that I have Christ in my life.
I gave my life to Christ two years ago at a D-NOW conference at my church. And at that point I thought that was it. I had become a Christian, period, end of story. I never realized how much my journey and refinement was just starting. Because at that point in time, I was still alive. We are called to lay down our lives to Christ, to die to worldly things and let Christ take over. Philippians 2:17 says, “Your faith makes you offer your lives as a sacrifice in serving God." But I told myself I was a "baby Christian," and didn't need to take that step yet. What I didn't realize at that point was that I was in the process of dying already, I just didn't realize it.
See, one of the coolest things about God is that He does so much in our lives without us even realizing it. The sins I had in my life at that point started weighing on me, and the damaging relationships in my life were shattering. I didn't understand why so much of my life was in shambles. I thought becoming a Christian meant that things were going to be great, and happy, and easy. I couldn't have been more wrong. Things were hard! I was losing things I liked to do, and losing people I thought I loved. God was taking these things out of my life so that I could be a sacrifice, I just didn't see that. God was refining me through the pain I was feeling.
As Paul said in Philippians, we need to be a living sacrifice. And this was the beginning of that sacrifice. If you read through the Old Testament, you will see sacrificing happening a lot. What this usually meant was that a family would take their most flawless calf, or sheep, and kill it on an altar as a sacrifice. However this doesn't need to happen anymore because Christ was the perfect sacrifice. And by filling my life with him, I become a sacrifice too.
The thing is, I had to empty myself of myself so that I could be filled with Christ. Only then could I truly be a living sacrifice, because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. And it took me until this summer to actually be at that point, to actually give up myself to be filled with Christ. And it has been the greatest decision in my life.
I have made the decision to die, to lay down my life of me, and give it to God. Philippians 2 continues after verse 17 to say, "If I have to offer my own blood with your sacrifice, I will be happy and full of joy with all of you." Paul is saying here that by laying down his own life he is filled with joy, and I have been blessed to experience that same joy. By being a sacrifice I am filled with joy, love, and peace. I could not be happier with that choice.