“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life."
-Deuteronomy 30:19-20a (NLT)
The pastor's in the pulpit and his hands wave and dance with his words. He tells us to die, and says he's giving up himself for lent; invites me to do the same.
Die to this flesh and its endless desires, lusts, prides. Increasing Jesus and decreasing me.
"This world tells you that you need to 'find yourself.' Well, I did find myself and you know what I found? Yuck!" Even as he says it, I can't believe it of him, but I know it's true of me. Yes, I've been on a search for me - the real me - and when I found her it was far from what I'd hoped. That woman, that me, she's nothing without her Rescuer.
This life isn't about soul-searching as much as it's about God-searching. Seek Christ and you seek life. Find Him and you find it all. Forget to knock on His door, and emptiness will be the least of your worries.
To lay down self and take up crosses - everything worth doing is difficult.
A teacher at my workplace says it and I know it's true of following Christ too - "If this was easy, everyone would do it, right?"
The pastor goes on about carrying a cross and I'm breathless again with this one - "We're called to carry crosses, not guillotines." We can't crucify our flesh with one quick motion, like a guillotine. Crucifixion was a slow, public, humiliating, painful, lengthy death, that often took days to complete. And this Daily Cross is a process - a painful, long parting with flesh that has no destination short of heaven. Only then will we be glorified in perfection-life. Oh glorious hope!
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
-Mark 8:34-35 (NLT)
Sometimes choosing life means deciding to die.
It's hard eucharisteo to be thankful for the privilege of suffering, of dying with Him, but I'm okay with trying hard things. I can be thankful, even for this, because I know obedience is worth it. He is worth it. I know I've failed before, and I'll probably hold on to too much of myself again - but it's in the not giving up where I think He's pleased with His kids. So will you pray this with me too, Dear One?
Lord, please show me the parts of my life that need to be crucified today for Your glory and my good. Give me the strength and endurance required today to lay down my selfish desires and take up my cross for Your Kingdom. Please heal my heart even as I die a little every day, and revive me in Your presence with joy. Show me what You desire of me, and how to obey You more. Make my life a living sacrifice of love to You. You are worth it - worth the pain and every ounce of suffering. I need no other motivation than Your love.
Quotes from Pastor Lance Lecocq with permission