“Whoever find (her) life will lose it, and whoever loses (her) life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39
What does this look like in our day to day life? I am studying Matthew and have been in Matthew 8-10 today. I am reminded again about the cost of discipleship. We are not promised anything different than our Master, Jesus. Let’s evaluate His life…he was popular with the masses when He was healing, casting out demons, forgiving sins (the “what can we get from this” philosophy). He reached out to the forsaken and foreign and sick (place any name here that might cost you to reach out to:)–including us–hello!). He was homeless (we are aliens/strangers in the world–this is not our home). Then, He was rejected in His hometown (hmmm–I have been rejected by those who claim to be on the same side as me). The religious leaders of the day hated Him because of His message and compassion (standing for truth is not popular–nor does it tickle the ears of self-righteous men or women). He was tortured, killed and as an innocent man punished with God’s wrath for His enemies (our) sins (In our freedom in Him, He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him). He teaches that His message will divide families and that our love for them is not to overshadow our love and devotion to Him.
A few months ago, I memorized Phil 3:7-11.
‘But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as RUBBISH, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God that depends on faith–that I may know him and the power of his resurection, and may share his sufferings , becoming like him in his death that by any means possible I may attain the resurection from the dead.’
I struggled mightily with that last sentence–memorizing in my heart to really mean it. The power and the resurection part–yeah…on board. The sharing in his sufferings and becoming like him in his death–that’s where the big crowds for healing and forgiveness leave–including me. This all hinges on the ‘surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ When we KNOW him for who he really is–we count everything as loss. We are ready to lose our lives here–reputation, status, things, vanity, dreams, self-righteousness, family–because we see his surpassing worth and an eye for eternity with him. This life is a blip, but oh how I treat it as the end all, be all. IT. IS. NOT.
The Spirit has spoken through the Word–take up your cross (die to yourself) and follow me. He is a good shepherd who has compassion and mercy like no other. He takes my dreams and rearranges them and breaks me of my blinded will to weave a tapestry of beauty that points to Him. He says,
“Jennifer, die to the American dream of being comfortable, of having kids to build your life around, of fixing your kingdom here in houses that fade, and of spending on momentary pleasures. Look at the bigger picture. I have created you to be a light for Me–for My glory. Do you know what a privilege that is? Do not cry over scraps of this life when I have called you to the surpassing worth of knowing My Son, peace that passes all your understanding–that fills more than good food, wine, new outfits, awards, attention for beauty, entertainment, accolades for ministry. Your momentary tears will be dried, and you will spend eternity in joy and fellowship and great treasures in Me. You do not have any idea, my daughter–no idea. For this time, I teach you patiently–again and again of My worth. I teach you to die to You and live to Me. My good really is your good–surrender, my child. For in surrendering to Me, you will find All–real life, true life, abundant life. This will look so different to the world–foolish–something to be pitied. Don’t worry about what they think–fear Me–the Almighty God, Creator of this Universe, the One who holds the keys of Heaven and Hell. I have got you–proclaim the life in Me.”
So, today, I surrender. And, I pray for the strength to do so tomorrow. I am weak–but in my weakness, I pray that He make me strong in Him. I pray the same for you.