Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Promise

In this day and age, the thought of giving your life for a cause can seem a bit out there. Suicide bombers, for instance, are regarded quite suspiciously. 
"What ever could bring a person to this point?" we wonder. 

On the other hand, we readily honor those who valiantly risk their lives to save another from peril, such as the firefighters at 9/11. We build memorials, and rightfully so. We inwardly wonder and even dare hope that we would do the same if ever confronted with such circumstances.

However being thus confronted turns out to be quite rare. I, for one, have not encountered a time when I could do something as bold and courageous as jumping into a raging river to save a child. Nor have I bravely faced a house ablaze, risking my own life to bring someone out to safety.

But years ago, I was confronted in another way.

Having given my life to Christ, He faithfully began teaching me exactly what that looked like. And He began meddling.


Luke 9.23 (NIV) - Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."  (emphasis mine)

There it was. A deep challenge, an earnest call. This was just me and Him. His quiet voice alone calling me to lay down my life, to die to myself, to let go of all I was, body, soul, and spirit. No one was preaching at me, sharing with me, nudging me. Just Him.

And no one else would ever know. There would be no glory if I did this; there would be no failure if I didn't. 

No one else would ever know - seemingly.


But in fact, the choice is on display everyday, for good or for bad. It is worked out in quiet ways, seen in small choices and large, in little things and grand. 

In time, a stigma of peculiarity akin to being "a bit out there" is attached to those who have agreed to give their entirety to Him. An aroma - a perfume, if you will - emanates from our daily living because an offer has been made and the promise is a good one: His life in exchange for ours.  He is now alive in us if we daily choose the cross, if we daily die to ourselves.

I never grow tired of this message. It has been for me a source of extreme joy and fulfillment, a paradox divine.
Give and receive. Die and live. Sacrifice and be fulfilled.
His life for mine. Holiness for brokenness. Joy for sorrow. 


Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.