Jesus said that you and I would have to lose our lives to gain His (Mt. 16:25). As Christians, as long as we are still living life on this earth we will have to take up our crosses daily (Luke 9:23).
Are You dying to your right to be your own master, to make your own decisions, to go your own way? Are you denying self’s natural desires for greater, better, more? If we give in to the natural demands of our flesh, we may have more “rewards” on this side of eternity, but we are sure to have fewer on the other side.
In this life, everyday, we must push through the husk of our individuality into our place as a part of His Body–the Place we are meant to abide in. We have to take up our crosses each day to cross over into our spiritual abode–we have to deny ourselves to take the first step into the life He wants us to live. It is an individual choice…. It is our daily choice … He will not make it for us.
Most of us begin our days in the morning; we wake with the sun’s light and end our days in the evening. But God’s order is different than ours … He began His days of creation with evening and ended them with morning (Genesis 1:5-31). On the first day of creation, God divided light from darkness, calling light “day” and darkness “night”. It wasn’t until the fourth day of creation that God created the sun, moon, and stars; He put the moon in the evening sky to reflect the light of the sun and the stars to shine into darkness–even in the darkest night there is never total darkness.
There are periods of darkness in our lives, night seasons that we all go through, when light’s goodness seems almost non-existent and our circumstances seem overwhelming. (Have you ever noticed the pain of a wound is worse at night … your random fears loom larger at night … and the minutes of a sleepless night take forever to pass?) When the tomorrow you are hoping for seems a million miles away … and so does God, please remember … God has not left you, He has not forsaken you … He is still there with you — God is Light, and darkness cannot overcome Light (see both John 1:5 and 1John1:5). Even in your darkest night God has left His nightlight on for you; don’t let despair overcome the hope He has given you … look past the darkness, your night season is not forever… morning follows evening.
God knows what His perfect will for your life is. It is a finished manuscript, every word perfectly placed according to His thoughts concerning you. Every day, the Lord turns a single page in the story of your life, inviting you to sit with Him … to read along with Him. But most often we do not. We walk through our days, editing His will for our lives. We change the words we don’t like and cross out His sentences, rewriting them to fit our predilections. We skim through paragraphs wanting to jump ahead, wanting to change the story, wanting to get to the end of the chapter … sometimes wanting to get to the end of the book. When we are finished with the page, we wait impatiently for the Lord to finish as well. As we wait, we look back on our rewrite of His perfect day, trying to read the words we have scratched hastily into the columns, counting the words and sentences we have crossed out; the marred page exhausts us. We will start fresh tomorrow … will it be a better day? Only if we put our editor’s pen down and sit at His feet as He reads.