Wednesday, June 6, 2012
die to be in communion
Romans 12:1-2 NLT "And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." It must have been some time last year when I was stirred to read Romans 12 every day for a month. I didn't make it the whole 30 days though. Our Bible study leader had mentioned that he had done it years ago and was greatly encouraged by the challenge. God repeated the reference to Romans chapter 12 many times during the months that followed. I think during that time of reading Romans 12, I really started thinking for the first time about what it means to die to self and to make my life an offering to the Lord. I have gone through phases of discouragement lately. Well for some time really. You see, the closer I draw near to God the more I see my own dark, ugly heart. In light of his perfection, grace and unending love, I see mostly my own selfishness, ungratefulness and lack of submission. I try to die. I long to die. NOT physically of course. I truly want others to see God when they see me. There is a song on Christian radio that mentions how people can't see God because they are busy tripping over "me". Much of the time I am in the way of people really seeing God. Especially for those, like family, who know me well. The only way to show the lost world who God is to "die" first so they don't really see you at all. Everything in you should be like the moon reflecting who God is not you trying to shine (with no light source of your own) by your own strength. I have been puzzled because I am starting to believe that complete dying to self is an impossibility. What I mean is you will never one day "get there". No matter how much more humble/selfless/compassionate that you think you are than you used to be, there is still a layer of flesh that lives within you. Self will always be there trying to break free. That is why it has to be a daily sacrifice. It doesn't matter if I died yesterday and lived completely for Jesus not speaking a harsh word to my kids and putting the needs of my husband before my own. If today I demand my own way and refuse to submit to my Good Shepherd, all that my family (and the world for that matter) sees today is me. The daily surrendering can be just plain exhausting though. I have to choose to die every single morning and frankly most days that is not my first thought. Brother has been waking up in the night crying for some lost toy that fell out of his bed while sleeping lately. I end up launching from my room annoyed and loud and unloving toward his situation. Our flesh is always right there under the service trying to make us think that dying to self is an impossibility so why make wasted effort. The truth is God commands us to "give our bodies to [Him} because of all he has done for [us]". The way to truly worship Him is to be a living sacrifice daily. And maybe the point isn't to figure out how to really live by dying to self. Perhaps the very act of surrendering your life daily is really His was of bringing us to our knees in communion with him. There more I get to know him, the more I realize I need him every hour. On those days when dying to self seems impossible because it doesn't come naturally, just remember that it never really will. It isn't supposed to. It may get easier--to rely on Jesus for everything-- but the very act of dying goes against everything about living. That is why it is a sacrifice. I am so thankful that God doesn't leave me to my own selfishness. He desires to transform me into a new person by the renewal of my mind. I choose to take up my cross and follow him daily so that I might be in constant communion with my Savior and Lord. PS. Blogger still hates me but I press on.