John 13:21–32, Right Sacrifice

Verse 27: “As soon as Judas had received it, Satan entered him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you have to do.’”

What do we mean by right sacrifice? The idea of giving something up, of consciously choosing to let go of or destroy a relationship, a habit, a schedule, a way of thinking, etc. evokes fear of doing something wrong. In our culture, the energy of destruction is tied to the concept of evil and Satan. Yet, Jesus gave instruction to one of his disciples that led to his bodily death. Perhaps, this is the key to understanding right sacrifice. It was Jesus’ bodily death, not the death of his essence or being that was necessary. Jesus called on a helper, Judas, to set this death into motion.

The practice of right sacrifice is central to transformation. Right sacrifice refers to letting go, giving up, or “killing off” whatever keeps us from living the truth of our soul. Right sacrifice is aligned sacrifice; it means destroying whatever keeps us from living according to God Within. “Sacrificing the good for the better, and the better for the best” is one way of thinking about right sacrifice.

Clearly, Jesus’ physical presence was good for all around him. Yet, there was a “better”—the coming of the Holy Spirit that brought Jesus’ presence for all humanity all the time. Perhaps, the “best” is the personal knowing that comes when we cultivate a conscious relationship to God Within.

As we cultivate this conscious relationship, we must sacrifice—give up, let go of, change—the beliefs, attitudes, actions, ways of being that are not true to who we are. Carl Jung stated there is a direction or gradient in which our soul will flow if allowed. We all can find ourselves in habit patterns, belief systems, attitudes and moods, relationships, and ways of living that stifle, squash, or deaden our spirit. We end up feeling depressed, lethargic, or apathetic. At worse, we may “wish we weren’t here” or “wish we were dead.” These feelings are messengers signaling the need for change that includes right sacrifice.

Sacrifice that aligns our ego/personality with the larger truth of God Within involves a falling away of one way of being and living so that another comes. Jesus voluntarily and consciously gave up his form—his physical body. He knew that God Within would take another form, and it did.

Inner Reflection
What are the forms—beliefs, attitudes, habits, automatic responses, moods, projects, relationships, work patterns, etc.— you need to give up? Pay attention to where you are feeling dead and ask God Within to show you the needed sacrifice for new life/a new form to come. Be courageous and enlist the inner resources—feelings, desires, the heart’s knowing—to set these changes in motion.