Just checking in today to see how everyone who decided to take the “Journey to the Cross” is faring now that we are one week in. As I have been studying and praying and listening I have come to a realization. God has been at work on me peeling away my layers of “yes, buts” and showing me that in this season of sacrifice, while chocolate was a nice thing to give up, unless it draws me closer to Him it’s just stuff. The sacrifice that I have been more and more convicted to lay over is that of self.
Deny thyself. It was at the heart of the very first post of our Lent journey.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:39 NLT)
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! (John 12:24-27 NLT, emphasis mine)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2 NLT, emphasis mine)
Lead me to the cross
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You.
A.W. Tozer said, “among the plastic saints of our times, Jesus has to do all the dying, and all we want to hear is another sermon about his dying.”
Here are C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on this subject from Counting The Cost.
The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.
Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.’…
The goal toward which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point. I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do. And we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone.
But this is the fatal mistake… The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us….
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself!
“Yes, but” cottages are cute and chocolate is so much easier…
How are you doing?