[Editor's Note: The following excerpt is taken from Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, ©2015 by Heather Holleman. Used with permission of Moody Publishers.]
Question Two: Will I live the life God asks me to?
When I’m struggling with wanting a different life—or if I hear any tempting siren song luring me to a different seat at another table, I ask myself this question: Will I live the life God asks me to?2
Will I? Even if it means I’m ugly? Even if it means I’m anonymous with no achievement or prestige? Even if it means I’m poor?”
Even if . . .
I pause. I’m debating with myself. I’m listing out every “even if” I can imagine. I see that false self staring back at me. Could I say to Jesus in that moment that He has the right to do whatever He wants to do with my life because it belongs to Him? Even if it meant suffering or loss or pain? Even if it meant giving up everything? Could I move that deeply into a truly surrendered life? What would I have to believe is true about God in order to do this?
Does He love me? Does He want the best for me? Can I trust Him? I know myself: I cling to my own life, my own plans, and my ideas of what happiness looks like. I don’t know how, like Paul, “to be crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). I don’t know how to “[lose] my life” to find it (Matthew 16:25). The question, “Will I live the life God asks me to,” however, sets me on the path to surrender.
By faith, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, I cry out, “Yes, Lord!”
When I agree to live the life God asks me to, I can breathe again. I’m the little boy with the stone on his chest who finally finds the green garden hose.
You may have your own “even ifs.” Right now, you might fear that following Jesus wholeheartedly and allowing Him to direct your life will mean suffering or loss. You might doubt God’s power or goodness. You might struggle with whether or not God could protect your life, guard your dreams, and care for you and your loved ones.
I struggle with the same fears.
I sit at the table with Jesus and I gaze at Him. I choose to believe in His love and goodness. I choose to believe in His power. I consider everything I know about Him—His love, His power, His goodness, His authority, His sovereignty, His holiness, His wisdom, and His mercy, and I offer myself as a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). I see the truth of Colossians 3:3–4 where Paul writes, “you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Christ is now my life. I’m born again as a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I let myself be crucified with Christ; I’m now sanctified into a new kind of beautiful death of self, a holy death unto the Lord. Here, I surrender my life to Christ and let Him control and direct everything. I tell Jesus everything—all the “even if” fears—and I tell Him that He owns my life because I am “bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) of His shed blood.
I offer myself.
I will live the life God asks me to. It’s a declaration of my will and an attitude of my heart and mind to live in surrender. It’s a precious and profound death of self that cracks the shell so the real, true me can emerge. When I’m poised in this place—knowing that Jesus is better than anything and that I’m willing to live the life God asks me to—I begin to consider my life from the perspective of personal holiness. I stay seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and I ask the next question...
This article is part of a 3-question series, read Question One: Is knowing Jesus better than anything? here and Question Three: “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?” here!
Heather Holleman, PhD, is the author of Seated With Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison. She is a speaker, writer, and college instructor and serves on the staff of Faculty Commons with Cru. Heather lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two daughters. To learn more about Heather, visit her at http://livewithflair.blogspot.com/
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publicaiton date: October 12, 2015