Willing to Sacrifice Everything


One of you wrote, “even though I give my burdens and weaknesses to the Lord, I always end up taking them back again.”

Last Sunday I taught a lesson to the High Priests Group on Sacrifice. The lesson went through some Old Testament history, and then had the bold heading,

“We Must Still Be Willing to Sacrifice Everything We Have to the Lord”.

Sacrifice in this day consists of yielding our will to the Lord, of having a “broken heart and a contrite spirit”. Sacrifice is learned by small degrees, and by small obediences every day. When the Holy Spirit moves us to say we’re sorry, or to study our scriptures, or to call a friend we haven’t been friendly with for years – these are the tokens that we lay on the altar of sacrifice. This is a broken heart – that we allow the Lord’s will to govern our actions. This is a contrite spirit – that we trust and eventually have powerful experience-powered faith, that the Lord’s way, and the Lord’s voice always brings us the joy and peace and love which we all yearn for.

As we contritely sacrifice daily in obedience to His voice, we are given opportunities to sacrifice larger things – like anger, or jealousy, selfishness, sarcasm or greed. If we have learned the lessons of small sacrificial offerings, we know and have great faith that not only is it the right thing to do – but that Jesus Christ himself will empower us to do it.

When the Holy Spirit urges to say we’re sorry, for example, and then we humble ourselves and say the words, our sacrifice triggers grace, and by this small process, Christ changes us. He takes away a portion of our pride, or anger or whatever weakness we have sacrificed in that act. He changes us, so that not only do we say we’re sorry, but we become, we evolve, we come unto Christ in that sacrifice. Over time, with prolonged sacrifice to His will, we are renewed, remade into the “image of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.

We pay a token by obedience, and Christ gives us eternity.

These lessons are life lessons. They tug at the fabric of our being. They punch holes in our defenses and tear down our safety nets – replacing them all with faith in Christ. It isn’t uncommon to progress, fall back a little, learn the same lesson again, and falter again. This is the reason mortality is called a “war against evil” because evil tries to reclaim our hard-won victories.

The war in heaven was not won – it was just moved to the earth, and we are continuing the battle within our hearts (which will be “broken” in the process) and our spirits (which must become “contrite”) by the obedience we yield to Christ, whose triumph over evil is assured.

It is not unlikely that people who lay down their burdens, then pick them up again and again, are trying to play leap frog with obedience. They want to give up anger, when Christ is urging them to speak kinder words to their spouse.  They want to purge resentment, while Christ is trying to teach them to hold family prayers. The problem is, we can’t progress to greater things until we conquer and triumph and hold ourselves valiant in everything that preceeds the blessings we think we are ready to receive. We must fill in all of the blanks, take all of the steps, obey at every level before these higher gifts we desperately desire, can be received.  

The process is to step back, fall to your knees, and prayerfully identify where we really are. Is it driving the speed limit which we arrogantly refuse to obey? Is it a refusal to help your wife clean house? Is it an unwillingness to freely give our mortal mansion to someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it? These are the little things that damn us (meaning to inhibit our progress). These are the little thorns in the flesh that keep the mighty blessings from flowing.

Find them – lay aside your own will – obey these things, and the greater things will soon follow. Not only will you lay aside these aching grief-causing flaws, but they will lose their power, their appeal and their hold. We won’t set them down, we will throw them down with disgust, despising the stench we once considered perfume. Then Christ’s grace will sweep them aside, and replace them with everlasting peace.

Tomorrow – sacrifice and making your Calling and Election Sure

Brother John

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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11 Responses to Willing to Sacrifice Everything

  1. edenbeth says:

    Right now . . . the battle is so sore within the heart, mind and spirit.

    I’m so grateful for these words:

    “When the Holy Spirit urges to say we’re sorry, . . . our sacrifice triggers grace, and by this small process, Christ changes us. He takes away a portion of our pride . . . or whatever weakness we have sacrificed in that act. He changes us, so that . . . we become, we evolve, we come unto Christ in that sacrifice.”

    This illustrates an intimate connection of the most significant nature between
    the mortal identity and the Lord’s. While it is true that our offering may well be expressed in in comparison to His as ‘a token to eternity’ . . . it is simply and fully a perfect expression of the law of sacrifice . . . just like tithing. Everyone currently is required to give 10% of their increase. Ten percent of a million dollars is weighed and measured precisely the same as 10% of a dollar. Why? . . . this is the deeper question that brings us to this connection more fully . . . because it weighs the same from the heart of the giver.

    Ahhh . . . now we see a glimpse of something so beautiful and simple that you may at first reject what I will say next . . . you may even be a little disgruntled at first. But try to give it some time . . .

    Christ can be delineated . . . what? Yes . . . Christ is delineated as we obey Him and become more like Him . . . one small step at a time . . . we truly get to know Him as truly become like Him. When we have progressed past the point of trying any particular work of His . . . to owning it (and of course we can get there . . . that’s the point of this earthly exercise) then it becomes simple. Then we understand and see eye to eye with Him on that particular. And this is how we progress until we are perfect, or whole, like Him.

    So here, we are talking about the law of sacrifice. No matter what we call our part (token, offering, etc) it is the balance on the scale of the heart that the Lord wants from us; when our best meets His best. This is what He has given to us . . . this is what He wants from us. This is the balance that unties His hands to bless us as He wants to. His only limitation is how we choose to use our agency.

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  2. ken h says:

    This reminds me of the talk you quoted part of in TTOZ from Elder Enzio Busche,”Truth is the Issue.” I love that talk! To finally be totally honest with ourselves and come to surrender fully to Christ. I also have come to realize that when the Holy Spirit fills us and makes clear to us that we have been truly forgiven, every sin that we have need to be forgiven at that point has been removed from us or we would not have be filled with the Holy Ghost, for He does not dwell in unclean temples. I know we need to remember them no more. Forsake them and never look back. We are a new creature. One that is filled with love and goodness at that point. Yes, we will make more mistakes but never those if we truly forsake them. Onward and upward! Thank you John.

    ken h

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  3. dianehawkes says:

    Dear Bro. John,
    Your beautiful message struck me to the core and I was able to finally understand how all my weaknesses have kept me bound by the chains of sin. I will be able to move forward now with new understanding and so much love for the beautiful principles of the gospel. Thank you so much for your messages that enlighten me and give me the desire and knowledge of how to continue.

    Thank you so much, bro. John

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  4. kim says:

    Thank you for your entry today- I pray to be obedient to his word and to follow his will.

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  5. Renee Stout says:

    Thank you,John. These are the words that I needed to hear. Thank you for being so in tune with the Spirit so as to teach us these important truths.

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  6. Even the Least Saint says:

    Thank you brother John, Usually when the subject of the lesson in High Priests Group is Sacrifice the discussion turns to things like being willing to show up for snow removal before church. Even though this is part of it I knew that it didn’t get to the heart of the matter. I knew that it involved a spiritual sacrifice that I really didn’t have the words to explain. I’m always so inspired by your teaching.

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  7. Annette says:

    Well said. In my personal journey, I’ve discovered that I tend to pick up the burdens I’ve given to the Savior when I forget to trust Him fully and completely. I must constantly remind myself that He knows what is best for me, far beyond what I know. He knows what is best for my highest good. I WILL learn to be submissive and become as a little child, to trust Him completely. This is my quest.

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  8. Victoria says:

    I love this. I love what you do here. Peace and light and power stream through your eloquent, yet simple to understand words.

    This was so beautifully explained and hit so dead center with what I experience in my own life. But I could never explain it like this. Dear Brother John, you have such a gift. Yes, I know that it’s the Spirit working through you, but you bring so much to work with! =o) Thank you. It’s always a joy to read the light and goodness that abounds here.

    Love,

    Victoria

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  9. Amber says:

    Thank you for this message of hope! That is so encouraging to hear that each time be obey, he will take away a little more of that challenge. That is something to hold onto in the moment the choice to sacrifice arises.

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  10. grace says:

    That’s a new way of looking at it for me,great insight. Too true. It’s my biggest struggle trying to have a nice, peaceful home and be nice to everyone. It’s too hard much of the time though when you’re a mom with bad nerves and your kids are fighting and driving you nuts, and won’t listen to a word you say!

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