I’ve spent some time recently just reflecting on my life and where God has brought me to.
24 years old on the brink of 25.
Lately it’s been hard to appreciate where God has me. As I continue to learn and grow I’m starting to see how much God requires that my life consistently resemble Christ on the cross. Sacrifice. I don’t like it. I don’t want to give up who I am, the things that satisfy me and make me happy, or the things I feel like I deserve. Nevertheless I’m continuously confronted with the reality that as someone who proclaims Jesus as Lord everyday is me dying to my own ways, thoughts, emotions, and philosophies on how life should go.
This world brings us so many concerns. What’s the right diet and exercise regimen? Whats the proper work-life balance? What’s the latest trend? Am I making the right decisions? Am I in the will of God? Am I going to get married? Am I going to stay married? When will the kids come? Are the kids going to get good jobs and leave? Is this job the one I should take? Should I go back to school and pursue a degree? Etc etc etc…
The season that I’ve been in has brought a lot of mixed emotions. This first year of marriage has been tough to say the very least. It’s really made me realize what true love looks like and how far away from that concept I truly am and it’s frustrating. There’s been many highs and many lows. So many things to appreciate and so many things to make me question if I’m in line with God’s will. I’ve truly experienced what it’s like to have everything that the world tells you that you should and yet count it all as loss. On a “good day” when I’m feeling disconnected from God my whole world is shook, because the foundation on which everything else stands has been rocky.
So I went back to Jesus’ experience on the cross to regain a conviction and peace about this. I was taken back to Isaiah 53 when the cross was prophesied about before becoming a reality.
“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6 NLT
Jesus went to the cross with purpose. That purpose was to save us all and to resurrect us from the ashes that we find ourselves becoming, wilting away little by little. Those ashes being the customs and attitudes of this world. Those ashes are everything about the way we’d rather go about life that is contradictory to how God would have us to live. Jesus, through one act, offered salvation to us all.
So then what should my motivation for carrying my daily cross be? Purpose.
Not purpose for myself but purpose for the world. Purpose for you and anyone else whom God would be gracious enough to use me to reach. When I start to make things about me I lose purpose. Nothing about Jesus’ life was about him and what he needed and wanted. Yet through focusing on the needs of others God supplied all his needs. Yet the world tells us to look out for yourself because no one else will. The world tells us to fight to get to the top and make a name for yourself. When the true goal is striving to make sure my name is included in the Book of Life and not known by the men and women of this world.
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NLT
This truth is hard to digest. So then I ask God, how can I live this out everyday? Where do I even start? I believe it starts with a heart of surrender every single day. It requires me being on my face before God saying Lord what would you have me do today? In what ways must I deny myself? How would you like to use me today God? Lord when I feel like I’m incapable or at my wits ends with your plan for me today refresh my spirit and shower me with the extra dose that I need of patience, perseverance, selflessness, endurance, grace, mercy and whatever else I may need in each individual situation.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 KJV
The resurrected King is resurrecting me.
So here’s the truth that I’ve come to accept. This world is not my home. I’m just passing through. My time here on Earth is simply a journey that I must take. A big journey made up of small days that I get to choose how to spend. Everyday I have decisions to make. Do I make the decisions that draw me closer to my Lord? Or do I make decisions that create a wall between us? Do I spend my time in selfless service or fighting for what I think I deserve? Do I spend my time focused on what I lack in the here and now or what I will gain in the world to come? I think that often times we can overcomplicate life when the Bible provides simple recipes to success for the varying situations we face. While the recipes are simple following them is not always so easy as we fight against our flesh to be righteous. So choose this day who you’ll serve. You can live to gratify your flesh and wake up and find yourself void and miserable or you can choose to live a life of surrender to gain an eternal reward that can’t be lost. The decisions don’t start when you decide to make Jesus Lord but rather are only beginning. One. day. at. a. time.
Yours in Christ,