My cousin, who is a Captain in the Army, and currently serving in Iraq, recently shared his heart about some things he's going through right now. It was so powerful I just had to share. Here's what he had to say...
"...After thinking a while, I'll just share what I think God is trying to not only show me, but get me to do. And I find it to be nearly impossible.
There are some things in my life that I've tried to pray away for a long, long time. And some of those things, God has removed; other things, they remain. And I tried for a good long while to approach God with appeals like I'd read in the Old Testament. "Lord, do this SO THAT, people will see how awesome you are and what you can accomplish in a person's life." But in my heart of hearts, my number one priority in that prayer was, what I saw as broken, I wanted fixed, for me.
And I read Luke 9.23 again, like times before. But it hit me a little different this time And I realized this; God is not primarily intersted in making of me a grand spectacle of His power to change, and revolutionize. He does do those things, but making a spectacle of a life is not the primary aim of what God does for and in man when man meets Jesus.
So I studied Jesus, and Luke 9.23 made more sense. " If any man would come AFTER me, let him deny himself." And then this verse.. Hebrews 4.4 "And God rested on the 7th day from all His works."
All His works. Creation, the Cross. And I understood more what it means to deny myself. Jesus invited men to follow after what He had done, and was about to go do on the Cross. It was settled there in His heart, but it was settled before the world began that He would be hated by men, rejected, beaten, carry a literal cross to a hill, and then die there as the sacrifice for my very real and abundant sins that had stored up the wrath of God against me. And Jesus calls men to follow after that. To die, and to settle in their heart that they WILL die.
And if I don't die, it is because I want what I have in my hand more than I want to follow and obey Jesus. And this is where the rubber meets the road I suppose. I think most things are not that hard to die to. The first things to go, I could say. But then there are those things in my life that cling and that make me rich and miserable. Luke 18.23 And it's a hard thing, but it's the point. It IS the following after.
I read John 6 today, and I think the disciples faced something like this.. And Jesus asked them, "Do you want to go away too?" John 6.67 And many left. But Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." I think maybe Peter thought, God what you've just said is impossible. And I've thought about leaving. But there is just no where else to go."
Between the Rock and some hard place.
And so, I've been praying that Jesus would teach me how to die, to decide that I'll die, and then to stand and die when the moments come.
Because He did it."