Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Simply, I read this and it strikes me... it means giving up that which I hold most dear, because the dearest One who holds me... means more.
My mind ponders this, heart treasures it, and soul stands in awe of the beauty of it. The surest way of losing that which possesses the most value is to try and hold on to bits and pieces of fading things of the world. What remains for all eternity? God and His infinite love. How long will the pleasures of this world last? Only but a breathe in light of eternity.
My soul yearns, oh it absolutely from the deepest parts of me, the unknown parts in me... cries out in anguish to be in the presence of my dear Savior, now, today, I want to be in heaven more and more each day! But since I am not, God obviously has some purpose He wishes for me to accomplish before I enter into His enthralling and captivating presence. This is why I wish with everything in me to learn and grow each day, to catch mere glimpses of this holy and magnificent God... because I'm not there yet. But instead of wasting away, I want to grow day by day!
And I want to use this life to honor and glorify His name! Which makes me grow extremely dissatisfied seeing how the world is. It is so broken, hurt, and so depressingly lost... so far from the sweet exhilarating love of Jesus! And I live so comfortably. Ugh. There are children fainting from hunger all around the world, women screaming in despair over lost children or husbands, people getting sick because there is no clean water... and each one no matter what the situation LOST and APART from the lovingkindness of my dear God! Oh how can I even type these words from the comfort of my dorm room? Then, there are people next door to me living with every comfort the world has to offer... STILL lacking the love and true comfort of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. And what do I do? What do I say? I am not so bold. Even if I am unwavering, I am not as vocal as I ought to be.
I have so much. So many have so little. I feel lost in a world of hurt, inbetween reality and knowing in my heart something has to change. I don't want to live in a big house, I don't want to have every latest technological toy, I don't want to go out to eat every week, I don't want to sit by and do nothing. I want simplicity and going above and beyond American Christianity to reach people who desperately need a real and perfect God. Not a "god" who gives health, wealth, and ease. No!! God is so much bigger than that, amid the chaos, confusion, hurt, and dark, He is a brilliant light that steadies a heart, heals hurt, and shines brighter piercing the dark and a heart.
I cannot stay here in college station. I do not want a typical life. I want the typical new testament life. There is a path I must walk on, seeking Christ first above everything. But then I think of Job, of Abraham. God blessed them immensely with earthly things. So having stuff isn't a bad thing... which isn't hard to grasp... it's just hard to fathom having that much. It's hard to see how that is good. What good is it to have more when others have less? Which maybe I'm just naive, God used Abraham and Job for His purpose... so money isn't bad. But I don't want money to accumulate, I want money to bless others! Ahh!
I think we all have different ways we have to deny ourself. One for me is denying the urge to find the easy and short quick way to fall in love and be married(which the desires to fall in love and get married aren't bad... too much in which it exceeds Christ is NOT ok, and also how I go about love can be wrong too!!). By denying all the selfish pleasures and ways I can indulge now, by looking, seeking attention, seeking to attract, being too open, too apt to physical stumbling, flirting, wishing, watching... instead I can seek the Lord evermore, encourage my brothers, guard my heart, be intentional with my words and actions, and not get tangled up in selfish "love" by grabbing what I want, instead I wait and delight myself in the Lord and He will give me the desires of my heart, when He knows I'm ready and He knows it's right.
Or even denying how sometimes I wish I could curl up in a ball and ignore the world. I don't like talking to people sometimes. I would rather be by myself, reading, or praying and spending time with God. People can be such jerks, such hypocrites. I'm a homebody sometimes. Which is true, even though it may not seem like it. But I know God has given me a love for the lost, a heart of service, words of encouragement, and a gentle and tender care for those who simply need a friend. I have no problem talking to people, it is not a natural ease which I was born with, but something cultivated over years. And I wish... I wish I could not care and be a quiet keep to herself girl. But I am compelled by my love for Christ to love people.
I just think of so many things when I think about denying myself. The words I say, I must be intentional. The clothes I wear, choosing instead to be modest and honoring God instead of gratifying my need of selfishly seeking attention. The places I go, the movies I watch, the music I listen to, the thoughts I cannot think, the thoughts I take captive. The ill-feelings toward others I must repent of. The surrendering of my own will for His. Not seeking fame and pleasure, seeking Him and proclaiming His fame and finding all pleasure in Him!
It's not about being good morally, paying my tithe in church, and generally being an amiable and liked person. It's about God, being poured out for His purpose, loving people because He loves me, sharing Him with the world... all the while being holy and blameless because Christ has washed me anew, giving away more than what I need because others need it more, being kind-hearted to the mean-spirited... being willing to be ridiculed and unliked because I stand for the truth of God's word, not what people want to hear.
I want a simple life. I don't want the thrills and frills of what the world has to offer. I want to run barefoot through open fields and enjoying the general splendor of God's creation! I want to sit in the sunshine reading a good book, I want to laugh with people I care about, I want to build friendships, not build bigger houses to live in. I want to live with what I need, the essentials.
I want a Christ-filled life. I want His love to be the thrilling and the brightest most breath-taking thing my heart delights in. I want to find Him in music, in books, in people, in life!
My heart is not satisfied to look and see the regular life Americans lead. I want something radically different. I just have no idea what that is, or what it looks like.