I feel like the Lord is taking me somewhere I’ve never been. I feel like He desires to grow my faith beyond any experience I’ve had with Him before. He’s at work, He’s doing something or He desires to do something, if I’ll cooperate. And I’m struggling – The Good Struggle, I call it.
Ever since the Prayer of Jabez, I’ve felt a spiritual discontentment. It began stirring in my soul but it’s only been recently that I’ve been able to actually identify the emotions of my heart and formulate thought on them.
I prayed for the Lord to do something so big in my life that it was obviously from Him. And part of the answering of this prayer has been clear. He wants to take me deeper, He wants to take me on a journey where life has more meaning – where safe and comfortable Christianity goes to die in the face of His radical love and desire to be so very real in my life.
He is slowly making it more certain to me that He’s drawing a line in the sand and once I cross it, I can’t go back – I won’t want to go back. I won’t ever want to go back to the lukewarm, lackluster life before truly committing and surrendering all to Him.
I have a feeling if I do step over this line, if I do take His hand and trust – I will never be the same. My life will never be the same.
Is it possible to be more in love with the idea of following Christ than actually following Him? – Eugene Cho
Sadly, this seems true of a lot of our Christian culture today, sadly this is also true of me.
Following Jesus is more than attending church on Sunday, more than a nice quote posted to social media, more than a Bible study with a good word that we nod our heads and then promptly forget, it’s more than blog posts we “like” and Bible verses shared on Facebook.
Those things are easy. Those things are comfortable. Those things aren’t bad – but following Jesus, really following Jesus, that can sometimes be hard.
Following Jesus looks a lot more like denying self, picking up a cross and following Him.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24).
It looks a lot more like crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24).
It looks like keeping in step with the Spirit –
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25).
It looks like walking with the Spirit, not gratifying the desires of the flesh.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16).
It looks like putting to death the deeds of the body.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 5:16).
It looks like leaving everything to follow Christ.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:11)
Because no matter what anyone else is doing, Jesus seeks after us and looks us dead in the eyes. He sees the caverns of the hearts, even the ones we try so hard to hide, the ones we try to decorate and distract. But He’s El Roi, He sees. He knows. He knows everything about us, every thought, every fear, every sin, and He still calls us by name. “______, follow me. I want you to follow Me.”
Following Jesus is sometimes hard. It’s looking in the mirror at your own selfishness, your own depravity without Him. It’s being willing to listen to Him when He reveals sin, and being willing to let Him crucify that sin and change you. It’s being willing to let Him prune and sift the areas of your life where He sees unhealthiness. It’s letting Him have full access. It’s surrendering your will and desires for His. It’s letting Him pry into the darkness of our thoughts, hearts, and actions and letting Him expose the dark to the Light. It’s letting Him make you new. It’s letting Him make you more like Him.
It’s the Good Struggle.
The struggle is hard, because it’s by definition a struggle. It’s a battle for thoughts, for hearts – but it’s also good. It’s good, because it means the Lord is working. He’s doing things. He’s changing things. He’s breaking strongholds. He’s healing. He’s making new.
I’m struggling – I feel like the Lord has called me to follow Him to an isolated place where He is pruning – He is cutting away expectations I have of Him, expectations I have of others, cutting away comparison and people pleasing, cutting away sources of security that aren’t found in Him.
I also feel like He’s sifting me – revealing my ugliness, my pride, my thanklessness, my jealousy, and I feel like He’s admonishing me (albeit in His ever loving, gracious, for-my-own-good way).
However, I think He’s dealing with my stuff, healing my heart, and revealing and covering these identified sins, because He does have something big planned for me. I still don’t know what, but I believe He’s preparing me and growing my faith for something He desires to do. And I don’t want to miss it. Oh, how I didn’t want to miss Him.
I am so sick and tired of being so easily pleased. I want Christ to thrill my soul and be the uncontested love of my life. I’ve been praying for something BIG through the Prayer of Jabez – and I still believe the Lord is planning big external things – but the biggest BIG – the biggest thing of all He could give me – the BIGGEST of the BIG He desires to grant? It’s Him.
I prayed for His blessing indeed, and in this Good Struggle, the Lord has shown me that He is blessing me with His greatest gift – the BIGGEST – Himself.
God, you are the best thing that could happen to Me – so happen indeed!