About 4 weeks ago a few schedule changes were made in my life. With these changes I experienced fear, anxiety, worry and turmoil. Many days have been filled with uphill battles I have had to fight in my mind, my heart and even in my marriage. At the onset of those weeks my pastor gave a message titled, "EMPTIFUL". I walked away knowing I had much emptying of myself to do to get to the point of the faith dependency I longed for for the weeks ahead. But I had no idea how much emptying God would require of me.
Lent, a season of spring cleaning from the inside out, was scheduled to begin on, well, today! As I reflect back on the past few weeks I see now how God orchestrated the prep work for today's scheduled surgery. The pre-op appointments examined areas within me that festered with the sins of my own self-dependency. Each x-ray revealed unsubmitted areas where pride hid, poisoning my life in ways that created conflict with everything I tried to do to bring glory of God.
Throughout this time I studied the last few chapters in the book of Daniel. Daniel, a man greatly beloved by his God, had his face set "toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes." Daniel 9:3. Daniel prayed that the Lord would hear, forgive, listen and act. (v.19) Not void of spiritual warfare, God heard Daniel's prayers and began responding even before Daniel's prayers were over.
I want to be like Daniel. Don't you? In order to be a Daniel we must set ourselves apart from that which defiles and separates us from God. We must allow the x-rays, do the self-examinations and show up to the pre-op appointments with our minds set to understand the ways of God and to humble ourselves before Him. God has work to do on this earth and we are to be the empty vessels in which He pours Himself into, using the gifts He has given each of us for His glory. But . . .
Can God trust us?
Or will our PRIDE get in the way?
C.S. Lewis once wrote: "There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine they are guilty of themselves . . . it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind." (excerpt from Mere Christianity)
This Lent, let us set our minds toward self-denial of those worldly lusts that lead to sin. Sin is simply man putting himself where God should be. Instead let's pick up our cross and with self-discipline walk the road to Calvary like Jesus did. It was a road that lead to death, death of the flesh. The cross of Christ was God putting himself where man should be. Jesus died for our sins but identification with His sufferings is where we will find our own sins nailed to that cross. The road to Calvary, walked in humility, is the breaking down process of self. That same road, where in the end we lose our life, is also where we will find it.
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:38-39
With a heart open and on the operating table this Lent my faith dependency is turning toward faith expectancy, expectant that "all that is weak, defective, sinful, and contrary to the will of God will be exposed and put to death and our souls healed, and what is spiritually strong, upright and holy may be blessed and strengthened." (excerpt from Draw Me Nearer, Vol 1 The Way of the Cross by Dr. Pete Bertolero)
Blessings to you on your journey through Lent!
There is this book coming out soon by my friend Jennifer. Her words have always been an encouragement to me and I am expecting nothing less from her book, "LOVE IDOL." It is my pleasure to be on a team of women to help her launch this book coming our April 1. Throughout Lent and in preparation for the release I am joining Jennifer in identifying a love idol in my own life. PRIDE is certainly where the LORD led me in preparation for Lent. But that is not what I am giving up. More on that to come. . .
You can find more about Jennifer and this Love Idol movement on Facebook.
Also linking this weekend with:
The Weekend Brew