Everyday we are all faced with a question - as believers in Christ. Are we going to die to ourselves and live for Christ? For most of my life, this passage was just a verse. It is easy to sit in a comfortable church and memorize, highlight, and have wonderful discussions on this verse...but to really "die to self". Most nights when I lay down to sleep here in Peru, I cannot help but lay there and wonder what Jesus really meant by this. I used to believe being a Christian was only making the one time decision, repenting of your sins, turning from them, and asking Jesus to live in your heart...what happened to picking up our cross daily and following HIM? Is following Jesus a one-time decision? What does Jesus really mean in Luke 9:23? Have we become numb to the fact, that Jesus lives in us? Have we become numb to the fact that one day Jesus is coming back? Have we become numb to the fact, that one day we will all stand before God's judgement or that one day many will not enter into glory with Christ in Heaven?
I NEVER KNEW YOU...
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me..." -Matthew 7:21-23a
In just a few short weeks that we have been here, God continues to open our eyes. The comforts we once knew, adjusting to the cultural differences, and our new day to day activities. And to be honest, for many days, guilt has consumed us. Tears roll out of our eyes as we look around to so many without a warm bed to sleep on, filthy clothes, and for many no food to eat. Scrapping our leftovers on our plates into the trash back at home in the States, was nothing to us. Yet, even in Statesville, North Carolina, there were so many in the same condition as they are here. We've become blinded and numb to our surroundings. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that for most of us we would have to question...dying to self daily and taking up our cross...really JESUS...who has TIME? For many of us, picking up our bible for a quick devotion is all we have time for.
I can't help but stop and think about the lyrics to this song...JESUS PAID IT ALL. (Period) There is nothing we could have done on our own..."it is finished" (John 19:30) No longer should guilt consume our days...through God's grace we are set free. God's grace, so freely given for you and for me.
So I stop and pray to ask (and it is never too late for any of us to stop and ask what carrying our cross and dying to ourself means)...Lord, what does "dying to yourself" look like for me? God show me each day, through your Word and through the Spirit inside of me, what this looks like each and every day? Lord, what does this mean for my family and for our lives? Lord, what can we give up for the sake of the 4.5 Billion people that are lost and who will spend eternity...forever and ever separated from You? Lord, please lead us everyday and teach us to FOLLOW you.