Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Embracing the Words of Life that lead to Death [Colorado Springs, CO]

Over the course of months leading up to this summer the Lord spoke to my heart again and again to prepare me for what He was starting, that is, this process of learning to lean more and more on His friendship than any other.  My prayer for this year in January was that I would learn to love people well as He does.  It seems that the training grounds for pouring into others is that you experience a heightened intensity of being drawn into deeper friendship with the person of Jesus.  

The closer I come to Jesus, the more I realize the weight and depth of His words.  If in this mans words there is truly eternal life, then why do I neglect His words more than anyone else?  Why have I not grabbed ahold of every word that He has spoken and claimed it for myself? In His words there is life, but embracing His words means death to my mortal flesh.  To embrace His path means to embrace a pathway of suffering and self denial.  To truly experience life, I must die to myself.  "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24 The cost of following after Jesus is nothing less then complete surrender and wholehearted devotion. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 Though there is death to the flesh, in these truths there is eternal wells of life springing up on the inside!

Our culture feeds us this idea that the journey of life should be easy and enjoyable, when we encounter hardship, our society tells us it's not fair and we deserve better.  I don't see this kind of language anywhere in scripture.  We see the exact opposite for the pathway of those who choose to follow after Christ.  The journey is filled with embracing suffering and being spitefully used because of Him.  "Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (endurance)."  Embracing the trials of this life produces endurance and long suffering for the marathon race that we are running.  When we bow out of tribulation and say that "it isn't fair, or God isn't just in our circumstances," we are robbing ourselves of embracing a valuable spiritual lesson to help strengthen our pace for the course of years to come.

Being a friend of the man Jesus, and loving Him well means that we obey and follow His commands.  "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15  "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."  John 15:10-11  There is joy in this process of dying to self.  When we choose to voluntarily love Him with the whole of our heart, and embrace His commands, we subject our flesh to suffering, and we greatly move the heart of the creator God because of our act of willful obedience.  This is the wisdom of God, that when we choose to love Him, it cost us something.

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