December 11, 2009

Friendship Fridays: Surrender vs. Sacrifice

I think that it is safe to say that when it comes to any relationship there is a bit of compromise and a give and take that happens when we engage in that bond. However, I think that there is a two-fold process that happens when we are working towards a Christ-focused friendship. And there are distinct differences and yet they must both happen for an exclusive Christ-focused bond to begin to take place between two people.

When we are looking to begin any type of endeavor or journey, we have to stop and recognize some of the things that it is going to take to set out on that journey or trip. The same is true for a Christ-focused friendship. Maybe it will be like last week, where we had to realize that sometimes people need to not like us. But we need to take some time and surrender the things that we are holding onto that will hinder being in true relationship with someone. And this isn't something that happens completely, before a friendship. Many times we have to have a continual surrender of different things throughout our relationship with a person.

I liken this idea to the need to surrender our fears, worries, humanly desires and ultimately, our lives to Christ in order for our relationship with Him to become complete. The point being that when we release certain things to Christ we become closer to Him. The same is true for your Christ-focused friendships. When we decide to surrender certain wants and desires, we have decided that the things that we want are not as important as the connection at hand with another individual. And that action, that decision, allows for that individual to grow deeper into our heart and personality.

This is the action that we see that exists in Christ-focused friendships. So often, our society tells us that everything is about pleasing, catering or creating situations that benefit the number one most important person in the world, ME (or you). Even in the relationships that we have. Possibly, this could be a cause of the issues we see of all kinds of students and people deciding that a relationship with Christ isn't as important to them, because it just doesn't do enough for them. This is why so many of our friendships fail or become increasingly apathetic. A Christ-focused friendship is much, much more.

On simple semantics, the word surrender indicates a need for a personal, inner reflection of reality and the need to give up of something that is more on the inside than a specific action that affects someone else. On the other hand, sacrifice is much more oriented towards action. When Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac, there was an action of traveling all the way to wherever they went and binding the boy and preparing the altar. The surrender happened when Abraham internally decided that this is what was going to happen.

The sacrifice we do is always an outward sign of our inward surrender. It is an action; of some sort. Whether it is the sacrifice of your time to attend their mom's funeral, forgo shopping with other friends because they need help with a crisis situation, or simply sacrificing some money so that they can eat lunch that day; there is always an outward action that indicates true sacrifice.

So what is it for You?
When it comes down to it, we all have relationships that could be strengthened if we would just continue to recognize what personal things that we are holding onto that we need to surrender and see those things in action in the form of outward sacrifice. So what is it for you? What relationship are you involved in, right now, that you need to surrender something in your heart so that you can sacrifice for the one that you want to be more closely tied to? What action can you do today that allows someone to be closer to you because you have sacrificed for them?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."
- 1 John 3:16

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