I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that my father was raised Amish. Self-denial and sacrifice are core values to the Amish belief system. (If something is easy it, can’t be good).
- Anything difficult is godly; therefore, do everything the hard way, the old fashioned way, and that’s how we earn God’s approval.
- Plow with a horse and not a tractor—unless they borrow one!
- No phone in the house, but we do have phone booths in the country!
And therein lies the problem with sacrifice and self-denial. We constantly have to find ways around them because they do not satisfy. They’re nearly impossible to keep on doing indefinitely!
Colossians 2:21-23 says, “People will tell you, Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!” All of these things deal with objects that are only used up anyway. These things look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body. But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt nature.”
There’s another big problem with sacrifice and self-denial. It inevitably leads to self-righteousness and superiority, especially towards those whom we deem less devout.
The biggest problem we have, as Christians, is not with sinners but with saints who aren’t as “saintly” as us! We judge other churches. We judge other groups within our tribe!
In October 2011, five Amish men attacked another Amish man and cut off his beard. Turns out, he was from a different group, one that, in their eyes, was not as devout as their group. They were arrested for a hate crime and sentenced to seven years in prison.
The radical Muslim groups, Boko Haram and ISIS, frequently attack other Muslim groups which they judge as less devout and sacrificial as compared to themselves.
There’s a spirit of religion that is demonic and you can spot it because it is always divisive. And when that religious idol of self-denial and personal sacrifice gets into a church it always destroys the unity of the Body of Christ.
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 Colossians 2:21-23 GWT