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“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
Last Wednesday was the beginning of Lent, the time of year when Christians around the world give up chocolate or Facebook for 40 days in order to “identify” with Jesus, who was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, scourged, nailed to a cross, suffocated to death, and forsaken by the Father as He endured the terrible wrath of God for all of our sins. Oh, the suffering we must endure as we eat our dessert of strawberries with whipped cream.
I’m being sarcastic, of course. But as I spent time in prayer this morning, I wrestled with a serious question brought on by this Lenten season: what would my life look like if I really did follow God every second of my day? What if I truly had the discipline and trust to say yes to God and no to the self-centered distractions of my day? What if I really did “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” as Jesus encourages His followers to do in Matthew 6:33?
The answer came clearly to me: it would look a lot like sacrifice, but in the end would feel a lot like life to the fullest. Or, as Jesus put it in Matthew 10:39: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” God, I believe; help my unbelief.
Lord, we are so divided, so full of doubt, so apathetic in our discipleship. We proclaim our devotion to you in one breath, and then crucify you in the next, declaring with Peter “I don’t know the man.” We settle for lesser pleasures daily, wasting our time and money on things that in the end will never satisfy us. Every now and again we receive glimpses of your glory and experience the unspeakable joy that comes from being in your will, living fully as the men or women you created us to be. Oh, Lord, remind us again of those times, that we might have the courage to walk by faith when the feelings are not there! We believe, Jesus, that you came to bring us life to the fullest. Lord, help our unbelief! Help us to lay down our wants, our desires, our “needs,” and to walk by the Spirit. Have your way in us today and always! May we find that you are indeed better than anything this decaying and deceptive world has to offer, and may you find in us a willing vessel, ready and eager to do your will. Amen.
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