DEVOTIONAL GUIDE: Be thankful for the sacrifices
Memorial Day reminds us to give thanks for those who gave their lives for us – especially Jesus.
Memorial Day is when we commemorate those who have given their lives for us. Throughout this nation’s history, there are those who have died fighting for our country, our allies, and our ideals. They have denied themselves a long life of peace and happiness so that I could live a life of peace and happiness, and we ought to be grateful for this.
This sacrificing of life is rare in humanity, and the Bible bears witness of this in Romans 5:7, where it says, “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.”
Soldiers don’t get to choose who they fight for, but no doubt some of them go to the battlefield thinking of a wife, a mother, a father, or friends, and they are happy to die for them. This is commendable.
But isn’t it more commendable of a soldier going into battle and being willing to die for an enemy? Imagine a soldier getting a letter from a wife who is writing to say that she is divorcing him because she is romantically involved with another man named Ted. Imagine that soldier folding up that letter and saying, “I am still willing to die for Ted!”
That is the idea of Romans 5:7-8, where Paul goes on to say, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus did not die for friends. He died for His enemies. We make ourselves enemies of God when we sin. Sinners are rebels against the holiness of God, and yet Jesus still loved us enough to die for us.
You may not think of yourself in that way, saying, “I love God! I’m not His enemy!” But 1 John 4:19 says that we love God only because He first loved us. Without His work in our hearts, we would never love Him, and yet He sent Jesus to die for our sins.
Friend, you need to first admit that you are a sinner. Second, you need to accept that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Third, you need to believe in your heart that Jesus died for you, and accept His free offer of salvation.
On the Cross He paid the penalty you owed, and willingly laid down His life for you. As thankful as I am for the sacrifice of soldiers, I am much more thankful for the sacrifice of Christ for me.
Pastor Joshua Hawn serves at First Baptist Church in Park Rapids.