“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, 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, you will save it.” Luke 9:23,24
These words and ideas don’t make any sense, but they are what Jesus did for us.
He sacrificed his comfort, his leadership, his position with the Father, in order to save you and me.
How do we give up our selfish ways?
For many years, I thought that filling my schedule with good deeds, and thoughtful words was giving up my life.
Until I realized that I was trying to draw life from those to whom I “gave” myself. Without a conscious decision, other people had become my idol, my focus, my false god.
It was never enough. People disappointed me. Even when I received the compliments and recognition that I so desperately wanted, the “high” didn’t last long. I even made a “Warm Fuzzy” file to try to refill my empty soul.
I ended up drained, hopeless, with feelings of despair and loneliness mixed in for good measure.
After a long season of pain and the sin of demanding my own way, I asked God to give me a heart that was ready to repent.
It took time. More pain. Looking at myself and despising who I was. At the end of my rope, I was willing to submit. Willing to give up everything—reputation, safety, even family, if necessary–to fall under His Lordship.
It wasn’t easy, but it is simple. Lay down my life to follow His leading.
It wasn’t instant, but He is patient. Asking again and again for a fresh start, washed in Jesus’ blood.
It isn’t perfect, but He is faithful, even when I am faithless.
The Lord wants us to draw our life from Him, to lose ourselves in love and worship.
To breathe in His words, His mercy, His graciousness.
To exhale our own wounded pride and ambition.
Pray that you will learn to let go of your personal agenda and learn to be fully open to His love so that it spills over to the ones around you.