Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Death of Me

"...I die daily."  (1 Corinthians 15:31, NKJV)

 You've heard the exchanges before --
"I'm a good person."

"How do you KNOW you're a good person?"

"Well, I've never murdered anyone."
So goes the base human logic of trying to defend our own reputation to a perpetually judgmental world.

As Christians, we allegedly have the understanding that no goodness of our own could possibly win us eternity in heaven.  Only the sacrifice of Jesus' death on a cross, taking our punishment, could win us a right to be ushered into the breathtaking, awesome presence of the Almighty.

Between acceptance of Jesus' free gift to me and that eternity in heaven, there is plenty of room for the good, the bad, and the ugly.  My decision to cooperate with my Maker has everything to do with how that time will play itself out.

As I meditate on this truth, growing in my Christian walk, something becomes painfully, disturbingly apparent.  I profess with my lips that I love God, that I want His will to be done, and that I surrender all.

Then my son unexpectedly becomes hospitalized with a serious bleed...

Or my husband loses his job with the very place that sells us our son's clotting factor and houses his specialists...

Or my daughter is in total sobbing meltdown from feeling "stupid" and unloved by kids and adults alike at her school.

Suddenly, God's permissive will in my life becomes pretty darn unattractive -- objectionable even.

"How can You expect this of me, God?" I cry out in pain.

I have a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas.  I loathe those who show me no compassion.  I despise those who have wronged me, wronged my children, wronged my spouse.  I am bitter, depressed.  Why is this my life?  Is this how God treats His friends?

The notions of forgiving as I have been forgiven, loving my neighbor as myself, and trusting in God with all my heart suddenly go against the grain.

Maybe I'm not necessarily good because I have never committed murder.  In fact, maybe a murder is exactly what is called for here -- a death to SELF.

Every day I get to decide whether to say "yes" to myself or "yes" to God.  I cannot do both unless I have allowed the old, self-absorbed part of me to march willingly into the death chamber, because that old selfishness is in no way aligned with God's will.  The old me is only concerned with my own comfort and well-being, the happiness and safety of those I love, and total justice in this present life.

God lovingly fashions that death chamber through circumstances like allowing the serious internal bleed, the job loss, the school conflicts.  Those very things I think will be the death of me ARE the death of me in a positive way, if I cooperate.  

That death can be a beautiful thing.  
Like a caterpillar who mummifies himself in the death of a cocoon, a beautiful new creation emerges.  Allowing my will to be put to death, while stubbornly painful, allows me to take flight bringing glory to God.

Any time I can smile amidst the ugliness of a hospital stay; any time I attend church to offer a sacrifice of praise when the pain is so great that I don't want to get out of bed; when I forgive, and forgive, and forgive again that wicked former employer; when I press on with the extra duties inflicted by our circumstances without grumbling, I am a new creation in Christ, letting the old pass away.

It takes practice to glory in suffering, afflictions, injustices, lost dreams, and heartbreaks.  I thank God for His patience with me as I am being transformed through the ugly, struggling, painfulness of this daily death of me.

PRAY:  More of You, and less of me, LORD.

Butterfly image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 comment:

  1. Hi Barb, loved the post. I've never thought of my death to self as a murder but it certainly is as I am alive in Christ. I have a website with a very similar name as your prayer: www.moreofhimlessofme.net, so I commend you for your wonderful breath prayer! Blessings........