The idol of religion stands on the legs of my own sacrifice. (I am made good by self-denial.)
Almost every religion of the world has self-denial as a core belief.
- Some Hindu’s walk on hot coals of fire to appease their gods.
- Other Hindu’s sacrifice the protein and sustenance that cattle could provide. While children starve, cows walk freely in the city.
- In Tamil Nadu (southern India) one Hindu sect fasts 48 days and culminate the sacrificial season by piercing their bodies with hooks and pulling heavy objects while concentrating on their gods.
To us that is strange and bizarre, but the idea of sacrifice and self-denial to appease God can easily become a part of the Christian mindset.
Christianity is the only religion where its God made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down His life for us!
God’s plan doesn’t make sense! It’s not logical that our goodness is made possible only by God’s sacrifice and not through human effort. So that begs the question. Are we called to live sacrificial lives? Yes! Are we to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Jesus? Yes! But we must continually guard against a religious spirit that tells us self-sacrifice and denial, in and of themselves, make us righteous.
The Trojan Horse of sacrifice and self-denial says, “If I give more, serve more, deny myself of pleasure, avoid certain kinds of food, and work to exhaustion, I will be pleasing to God and made right in His eyes.”
It sounds logical, but it’s a lie, a trick that leads to our destruction.
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