Friday, July 5, 2013

Dependent or Independent?

It's July 5th and I've been reflecting all week on this simple thought; we celebrated our country's independence yesterday, and yet, as a Christian, I'm called to live as a dependent. In fact, it is this very trait in me, this trait of "independence" that is the root cause of so many problems.

If I had to summarize God's desire for all believers in one word, it might be the word "surrender." Read these words of Jesus;

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul." (Matt 16:24-26)

It's a simple equation - give up your life and gain a new one. Lose your life and find a more meaningful, joyful, purposeful one in Him.

And therein lies the rub - I get stuck on the first part often. "Denying myself," "giving up my life"or "losing it."And in those moments and times when I fail to deny myself, fail to give my life, I find that Jesus' words hold true...the things I hang onto lead to emptiness. However, in those moments when I am able to deny myself and get lost "in Him," there I find life, and I find Jesus.

The "losing your life" or "denying yourself" is not a one-time event. It is an on-going, ever-present denying of yourself, surrendering to Him. Why? Quite frankly, because the life Jesus has for you is so much more than the one you want to settle for. 

There are two ways to motivate people towards something:
1) You can tell them how great it will be when they get to the new place, or
2) You can tell them how awful it will be to stay where they are

A life of denying yourself will lead to eternal life in ongoing, constant stream of joy, purpose, impact, power, thankfulness, and hope. A life that leaves a legacy, makes an impact, and builds eternal rewards in heaven. That sounds pretty good...

A life of living for yourself will lead to hopelessness, a lack of purpose, a longing that will never be filled, a constant "minor depression" that medicine and psychology will never fix. That sounds pretty bad...

So join me, make every effort to deny yourself, give up your life, stop being so independent and surrender to Him. It's worth it!

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