"Don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!"
~Romans 8:12-14, The Message
I sat in church, clutching the dampened tissue as the tears streamed down my cheeks. The pastor's words, spoken with sweet conviction, were like a soothing liquid being poured into me. They flowed into my mind, then made their way downward. The message was more than just "something to think about".
My tears were an outward expression of what was happening on the inside. As his words of Life trickled down into my heart, they were challenging me. Changing me. Freeing me.
"Die to self." I have seen the sacrificial element, and known it to be a multi-dimensional principle. But I wasn't able to grasp what the other dimensions truly look like. Until Sunday, when I heard the pastor's message, and saw the visual demonstration.
The only way to really grab hold of God and live the Life he has for me, is to let go...even die...to my preoccupation with "self" and the things of this world I cling to so tightly.
Release. Let go. Trust Him. It's sounds simple. But it's so difficult to do. Why? Because I spend my life more focused on what I want than on who I want to be in Christ. I invest too much of myself in the pursuit of fleeting comforts and pleasures. I set my hope on people, promises, and promotions that are transient and temporary at best.
It doesn't have to be this way. I can release my grip and place both my hands in God's. It doesn't mean the other things will disappear. They may remain. But now, He is the one who will be caring for everything and everyone I clung to for so long. And what better hands to release all my cares into then his?
What blessed conviction! Because true conviction frees us, and empowers us in new and exciting ways. Those tears I cried in church were shed in joy, in new hope, and in holy revelation. If I can keep both my hands nestled securely inside of God's, I will know the freedom that comes with dying to self. And I will never be the same.
What are the things I am clinging to? What do I need to let go of? Show me, Lord. I am listening.
"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."
~John 12:24-25, The Message
"We feel 'conditioned': bound by the chains of our habits and compulsions, our likes and dislikes, our fears and guilt, our inability to love. Our great tragedy is that we often mistake these habits and compulsions for our true self...Our false self must die, so that we can find our true self, the self which God meant us to be and which he created in his image and likeness."
"We must die if we are to live. There is no spiritual life for you, for me, for any man, except by dying into it...The sentence of death must be in yourself, and then you shall enter into life."
"Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not 'mine', but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
~Galatians 2:20, The Message
"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 onto your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?"
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life ~ your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life ~ and place it before God as an offering."
~Romans 12:1, The Message
"That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines."
~John 3:30, The Message
"The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!"
~2 Corinthians 5:17, The Message