Monday, October 24, 2011

Walking With the Lord: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

Several verses from the Bible have been laid on my heart over the last couple of weeks. I read them during my morning time in the Word, where I'm reading through the Bible in a year, something I highly recommend everyone to do to begin to TRULY understand what it means to be a follower of our Lord and Savior.
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'" 
Matthew 16: 24-26
What has been most heavily laid on my heart is the idea of what it actually means to loose our life. I don't know that I've truly understood what this verse was saying until these last couple of months. As I look around where I live now, I know that I'm am beyond blessed to have a roof over my families head, that we are safe and protected, that we have been blessed with an abundance of healthy food, however if you had spoken to me a year ago and told me this is where we were going to be now, I would have had a very heavy heart. We are in the complete opposite place of where we wanted to be. Our goal had been to buy land and begin to homestead, growing our own food and living a more self sustained lifestyle. I wanted to be away from the city and be back with nature where I feel most relaxed and rejuvenated. However, the Lord has had another plan. When we began to seriously look into moving, it was the beginning for us to truly recognize what it means to hand EVERYTHING over to the Lord and trust in Him to provide us with ALL we need.

That can be a hard journey to start. It's easy to pray for the "things" you believe you need and these "things" may come from a well intentioned heart, yet they may not be the "things" the Lord sees you needing. Over the last six months, we've had to step back numerous time and re-evaluate what we are doing. Are we being lead by our desires or the Lords? What we found through the whole process was the Lord never provided for us until the last moments and I truly believe in my heart that this was purposeful from Him. It forced us to lean on Him and trust Him. Our anxious thoughts caused us stress and we felt overwhelmed as we continued to struggle to do things both on our terms and God's, yet each time we stepped back and handed things fully back over to God and we relaxed and we waited, each and every time He provided.

He did not provide though, in the way that we thought he would.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  
I think my husband and I have had to learn some valuable lesson about loosing our "life". Where the verse to some may sound as if you may physically loose you life, in reality I think this is more about loosing the life you have. Five years ago, when my husband and I were still living our life to it's fullest by the world's standards, partying, drinking (a lot), spending far too much money, and simply enjoying the pleasure life was bringing our way, we were in no way living a life for the Lord. For that matter the Lord was really just beginning to re-enter our thinking. We were beginning to go to church, but we struggled with wanting to do what we wanted, versus SUBMITTING ourselves to the Lord's will.

The word SUBMISSION. It makes people uncomfortable. It shouldn't. It's a wonderful word, especially when it relates back to our Father in Heaven. How great it is to submit ourselves to Him. When we do, the struggles of trying to walk the line between our fleshly desires and those given to us by God, erases itself. When we submit we can lay ourselves before the Lord, ready and willing to follow Him, casting away the desires we deceive ourselves into thinking we must satisfy.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  
Over the last five years and especially in the last couple of months we have lost most of the things we felt where important by our world standards. Truly these things were not nearly as important as we thought they were, they were material possessions, a certain lifestyle, even friends and so forth . More importantly though, we lost our life as we had known it. The closer we have drawn towards the Lord the less important the things the world holds in esteem, seem to be.

Day by day we have to hand our lives over to the Lord and follow His will. This is not the will we think He should have, but instead we must cast away every preconceived notion of what is important, of what we must have to survive. We can't put the Lord into a box, where we pray to Him and ask Him only for the thing we think we need (again even if these things are well intentioned and God focused). Instead we need total abandonment from all that we know, from all that we think is important, from every preconceived notion of how things are supposed to be. After that, then the Lord can truly works with us, train us, give us a level of understanding that can only come from Him. We are a blank slate for Him.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 
There should be no fear in this process. I know, certainly easier said then done. A couple of verses that I hold close to my heart when I'm feeling anxious and overwhelmed with all the unknowns are,
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more then they?

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!"
~ Matthew 6: 25-31
He goes on to say,
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will car for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
~ Matthew 6: 33-34
These verses are encouraging to me. To know that I'm provided for, to know that the Lord is looking our for my family and me. One thing I would like to point out is these verses don't say that He will provide the newest and greatest fashions or provide an amazing 4 bedroom, 3 bath home and so forth. It simply says we will be provided with what we need. When we change our mindset and stop allowing outside influences tell us what our needs should look like and we prayerfully seek the Lord, He can give us a new version of satisfaction, one that doesn't go out of style with the changing season.

I hope these words are encouraging and always feel free to send me a line if you have a question or would like me to expand on my thoughts. 

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