The Lord has really been speaking to me recently of being “others” focused. I have heard this message many times spoken by men, but when the Lord actually begins to stir this in your heart-there is something more convicting- more heart breaking, more freeing, more….more. Let’s consider how “other’s focused” the Lord is. He gave everything just because He loved. We are called to be His reflection. We are called to suffer for this purpose. We are not called to never sacrifice, never get dirty, never be uncomfortable. When did this life, this american dream, become our gospel?
Honestly, I find myself wanting to crucify anything that will get in the way of the comforts of my life that I “can’t live without.” Ouch! It hurts to say that out loud. No, Lord, do not ask me to sacrifice THAT, I can’t possible live without my….. I’m sure we could all fill in the blanks. But what if our lives could have more purpose, more effect, more legacy? Would we be willing to “do without” so someone else could benefit? Would we be willing to consider others as better than ourselves, not because of their merit or character, but because the scriptures instruct us to do so? Would we be willing to let the love offering that we have received from what Jesus so freely gave pour out of us generously onto anyone who was in need without first sizing up the situation as to if it’s just too messy to be involved with?
Thank GOD, Jesus didn’t deny me because my situation was messy. Do you know where I would be without my savior? I would be dead. I could not have forced life this many years without Jesus because without Him I was walking dead anyway. He rescued me from the pits of mental despair that had come to claim me. He threw me a life preserver, He pulled me out of sinking sand, He placed my feet upon a solid rock and gave me a reason to sing. HE GAVE ME LIFE! How can I not give Him my life in return? What did Jesus do for you? What is your response?
I’m not saying all of this to shame blame you into giving more, doing more. I am just wondering, who is this Jesus we claim to belong to? What are the “rules” of being part of this family? Don’t you know all families have “rules” or a “code of ethics” that you must abide by to receive their approval and acceptance? Jesus made it clear in the scriptures that his family was no longer his earthly mother and brothers, but it was anyone who was doing the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father? To love God with everything you’ve got, and to love others as much as you love yourself. Which family will get your legacy. Will it be, “I’m so proud of my son, He’s worked hard, has lots of money in savings, has adequate insurance to cover every possible thing that might happen, has a huge home, nice cars, and two beautiful children that are set to become the next generation of doctors and lawyers!” Or will it be, ” Well Done, good and faithful servant, you have loved well, and in you I AM well pleased.”
Again, I’m not saying that having a good job, savings, insurance, and awesome successful kids is wrong, I’m just hopefully pointing to that IS NOT the pinnacle of life. The ones in the Bible who were acclaimed suffered greatly to save a people. The message they carried cost them. They were scoffed, persecuted, hated, uncomfortable, imprisoned, beaten, murdered. Do you think the call has changed? Or maybe we water the message down so it won’t seem so offensive or hurt anyone’s feelings. Which Father are you serving? Which legacy do you choose to live your life, your one life, creating?
Friends this is hitting me like never before. Trust me, I WANT a bigger house.I WANT a trip to Europe. I WANT a nicer car. I WANT more money in bank. I WANT my cable TV. I WANT expensive, nice things. Oh man, I can’t tell you how much I WANT those things. I can’t tell you how often I have complained because I don’t have MORE things yet, and took time to maybe point a finger of blame on who has slowed this process down in my life. I mean, how come so-and-so seems to get everything I WANT! OUCH! How can that be a heart full of giving? How can one so full of me, me, me and blame, blame, blame, be a heart fully surrendered to an all out , gave-my-own-son-so-that-you-may-live, God?
So now I am beginning to wonder, what can I sacrifice? What can I live without? What can I give away or sell so that my income is freed up to give? What can I do with my time? What can I do with my words? What can I do with my gifting, talents, abilities to bless, encourage, motivate, and equip others to be living in their God given purpose?
This does not feel good. I am not writing this from a place of, “Oh, hey, over here, check me out, I’m the girl who blesses and humbly does without for the sake of Jesus.” No WAY! even writing this, my flesh is saying, “NO! don’t put it out there….you will have to start living it.” But the time is now. I have to stop striving for the “American Dream”, and refocus my life on the legacy I am called to leave because I belong to Jesus Christ. With a knot in my stomach I declare, “The time is NOW!”
The Message (MSG)
19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. 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. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
Lord Jesus, we need more of You. Lord, quiet our hearts from all the acceptance messages, approval addictions, deadlines, bills, American culture stuff that we constantly bow down to. Lord, I ask that with a clear heart and mind You will begin to show each of us the particular plan and purpose you uniquely created us for. Show us how to step out today in faith for Your glory and as a direct response to Your love. Who is it we can come alongside of today, expecting nothing in return and help to carry the load for a season? Lord Jesus, it is all about You- we desire to genuinely reflect You on the Earth, that You would be made famous through our lives and not ourselves. Teach us how to live, teach us how to love, in a way that You would be proud of and pleased with. We need more of You Lord! In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.