Originally published Thursday, 09 January 2014.
"Let go of the rope, and lean back."
Complete terror overcame me at the sound of this instruction. Suspended over a high cliff in the Colorado mountains, I was about to test the intensity of one of my greatest fears. Whether or not my disdain of heights would be conquered was beyond what I could see at that moment. I just knew I had nowhere to go but down.
Being told to let go, whether in the sport of repelling or in the context of faith, is never an easy feat.
As Christians, we talk about "letting go" often throughout our faith journeys. Faith in itself is all about submission and surrender: "for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Though Jesus Christ, the glory of the one and only Father, walked among men thousands of year ago, we Christians today have not physically seen Him. We walk by faith, learning to love Him more each day as we release our very lives into His ruling, gracious hands.
I contend, however, that most of us do not really understand what letting go means. I think our willingness to fully entrust our lives to Christ comes with...terms. And if not terms, then resistance in one form or another.
Because if we are honest with ourselves, with our hearts, we know that we are not yet perfect. There is much work to be done to conform us totally to Christ-likeness; to transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh; to bring us to a full understanding that our lives are ultimately not about us, but about the glory of the Son of God (Romans 14:7-9).
I have a problem with this, if I am honest. Well, my sinful nature has a problem with this, to be precise. My new nature in Christ, the "new self" I have been given in Jesus, is fully on-board with it! But because I am not yet perfect, because my sinful nature still rears its ugly head, there is a part of me that resists letting go, giving myself fully and completely to Christ, whatever the terms, whatever the cost.
Total and complete submission is terrifying.
Or so my flesh tells me. But the Word of the Lord tells us something different: total and complete submission to Jesus is freedom and satisfaction.
"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake
and the gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:35).
Over the past week, I have been pondering what it means to lose our lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order. See if any of them resonate with you and perhaps with some of your current circumstances.
Losing our lives for the sake of Christ means:
We hold loosely all that has been entrusted to us by the Lord, being willing to let go even what we believe is from His hand.
We confess every substitute that is exposed by His loving command to forgo idols.
We place no restrictions on how Christ chooses to spend us for the gospel: "Use me, Lord...unless You want to use me there. I'd prefer not to do that."
We prize Christ over the "things of Christ," cherishing the Giver of all good gifts over the gifts, themselves.
We trust and obey Christ's Word and His call, even when the rest is unclear or simply does not make sense. We are not like King Saul (1 Samuel 13:13), disobeying the Lord to pursue our own paths and timing.
We care more about God's glory than our own comfort .
We count ourselves blessed to suffer alongside Christ when trials, afflictions and hardships come.
And above all:
We seek Christ's sufficiency above all else, hungering for His fellowship and His will for our lives. We realize that, when all else is stripped away, Christ is sufficient to satisfy our souls forevermore (2 Corinthians 12:9).
May we be women who do not fear losing our lives for Christ's sake because it means we gain Christ, Himself. And may Christ be all-sufficient, ever enough for us, from now until we worship Him forever in glory.
Lord Jesus, You rule our lives by Your powerful hand, with steadfast love and faithfulness. We confess that, at times, You do not seem sufficient for us. We look to You and to other things to satisfy us. But we desire only You, Jesus! We desire Your sufficiency and glory above all other things. Thank You for grace, for Your help in following You faithfully. Strengthen our faith, and teach us to submit to You, no matter the cost. We love You, O Lord our God.
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