I feel like that's what happened in the garden. The serpent came up and instilled this spark, an idea, nothing more, in the mind of Eve. She started taking hold of the apple in her mind much before she physically did. As the thought of being like God overwhelmed her, her desire overruled God's command. She took with two hands something that she hoped to turn into gold. Sadly, it became dust and darkness to the world. Eve's original desires were to listen to God and as she walked in His will, she found herself happy with her husband in the presence of the Lord, but when she tried to make things even better for herself, it made her ultimately lose everything. She lost the garden, the ease, the comfort, her relationship with God, purity, and she welcomed death as it came into the world.
As people died, God couldn't let his children be sent to hell, because although He is just, He is also gracious and loving. He gave the best form of grace that could ever be imagined. He came down to earth to teach His people about Him. He lived like we do on this earth. He dealt with common, daily struggles like the ones that we have, yet in the end, because He is perfect, He never sinned. Not once. Jesus never tried to go against the will of the Father. Even when He was faced with death, He did not waiver. He walked parallel to the plan of the Father. One of his closest friends betrayed Him and as the prophesies had foretold, He was hung to a cross to die. He didn't speak out against the Father, instead He spoke out for the people who hung them there to die. Even on the cross, in the pain, He remembered why He had to come to earth. He had to come because He couldn't stand the thought of us staying an eternity in hell, because He couldn't imagine losing His sons and daughters to the evil one. He loves us and wanted us to spend forever in His glory.
I love the cross. It is the ultimate sacrifice of love. Perfect God loved me enough to come to earth and to die. If that was the end of the story, there wouldn't be much hope. I'd be serving a dead God. Instead, three days after His death Christ rose again from the grave proving that in the end, Satan can not hold down the power of God. God is alive.
I believe that with all of my heart, but now I go back to my original statement, Christ asks us to make sacrifices as His followers. Maybe we do have to sacrifice everything that I mentioned before for Christ. Maybe He asks us to go even beyond that.
I think of Peter. He loved God and laid down his life to follow after God. He literally died upside-down on a cross because he felt that he was unworthy to be crucified like Christ was. What if our love for God was that radical? So up-side down that we feel it totally ridiculous to hold on to our lives only to in the end lose it? Oh wait. . . that does sound pretty ridiculous. Maybe we should all just start sacrificing little things for Christ, then maybe things would start to change. Maybe by sacrificing little things, we would ultimately, be sacrificing a lot. Maybe then we could have a committed up-side down kind of love like Peter had for Christ.
I don't think I would be offended to have my faith compared to his. Sure he might have been a little crazy, but only because he wanted to give his entire life up to the one person who could in the end, save it. He didn't believe in the world. He believed in the one who overcame it.
And that made all the difference.
Laying Down Myself