In my post yesterday about being discombobulated, I thanked Mike Ellis for being such a great example to me. He posted a reply on his blog in which he said:
I think it’s funny that I would be featured in a post titled “Discombobulated”. Thanks for the kind words Peter. God is doing it all. I am not capable of anything good. I’m just trying to be obedient. I am a million miles from perfect.
Mike hits the nail right on the head with that. Let me explain:
- Mike has total humility. He realizes that he can do nothing in his own strength. This is a very important attribute for all of us to learn. If we want to have a real Kingdom impact like Mike, we need to have real humility like him, although he is probably humble enough to deny that he is very humble!
- God has to do it – and Mike has to allow him to. This is the hardest part. We can fairly easily learn humility, there are a million ways for us to be humbled and to look up and realize that we are not invincible, infallible demi-gods, we’re mere mortals, fallen, sinful, full of faults and failings. Learning to give up our lives and give ourselves over to God is a totally different thing though. Learning to ‘let go and let God’, to listen to His call AND answer it, learning to die to ourselves so that we can live for him is so much harder than learning humility. You can be unsaved and be humble but allowing God to ‘do it all’ requires a change that can only come from a real connection to Him and a purposeful desire to live for Him.
It is the second point above which I struggle with so much. I can be humble. That’s not a very humble thing to say, I know, but when it comes down to it I’m coming to grips with the humility part it’s the whole ‘giving it over to God’ part that I struggle with.
Jason over at Connecting To Impact talked a little about this yesterday and many of the great blogs that I read have been talking about it too not least of which is Dan Edelen on his blog Cerulean Sanctum.
This may be why I’m feeling so discombobulated at the moment (sorry, I just love using that word). Maybe God is trying to break me like I keep asking Him to. Maybe He’s drawing me into a new level of dying to myself.
I hope so. Please pray that I (and you) can give up more and more of myself every day and live for Christ more each day.
Please pray also for my wife and kids that they will come along on this journey with me. They are with me thus far but part of what holds me back is this whole ‘looking after my family’ thing. The whole American dream, expectations deal.
In the run up to Christmas we did the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge which was a challenge to give something every day for God. Whether it was time or money or pride or whatever was required. That challenge was life changing, or at least it should have been. It felt that way at the time and I so desired to carry on after the challenge ended but somehow I have just drifted back into my old self-centered world.
My wife and I have been talking about this and we really want to be more intentional about dying to ourselves and giving for God but we’re stuck at this ridge that we can either butt up against for the rest of our lives and live a frustrating, self-centered existence or we can find a way to rise up and go over the ridge to keep following the path that God is trying to lead us down.
How about you? Is God calling you somewhere that you are resistant to go? Do you die to yourself daily? Have you taken up your cross or is it sitting beside you… waiting?
7 Reply to “How to live for Christ?”
My wife and son bring balance to my life. If it weren’t for them I would have a yard and a home full of homeless people. Don’t know how long the homeowners association would dig me.
🙂 is all I can say!
I am not resisting to where God would have me go; my problem is more knowing it is God’s direction as opposed to my own desires that lead me in any given direction on a given day.
How to tell the opportunity God puts in front of you as an open door as opposed to one you subconsciously create by throwing a brick through a window and climbing in.
It is so wonderfully refreshing to come upon these questions! I originally found it at BlogCatalog so that much of social networking is indeed working.
There is so very, very much to say, write, or espouse about the notion of ‘dying to oneself’ and living for Christ. I have just prayed, and asked; hopefully the Lord will work through me.
One must understand that during the time the New Testament was written it was not considered Vogue or Chic being a Christian; therefore, much of what the believer’s did–especially the writer’s–used a lot of metaphorical language. Not code by any means, but verbiage that only Christian’s would understand.
Luke 9:23-27 explains ‘dying to oneself’ just about as good as anywhere else. In this particular passage, Luke is quoting Jesus Christ.
I had a great pastor and theologian who had a unique way of addressing this Scripture. He called it the 3 R’s; Resolve, Resilience, and Reality. As he put it, if we are to “…come after Me, let him deny himself…(1st R) Resolve is being so steadfast and bold that we are literally saying, “Hey! This world is far too much for me to handle on my own…worse still, I’m losing the battle! I know that I am but a weakling and I can’t do this by myself; therefore, I surrender to you and ask that you take over and show me…”
“…And take up his cross,” (2nd R) Resilience is like a piece of cellophane, scrunch it all up, jump up and down on it, yet, no matter what we do to it, it always returns to it’s original form. Therefore, ‘taking up his cross’ is a volitional understanding that not only is that cross heavy, we are going to get beat up by the world (world’s ways) and therefore pray for resilience.
And the third (3rd R) Realistic about what it is that we are asking God to help us with. Living as Christ did is impossible for humankind. God knows this and has made provision through “…and follow me.” He wants us to be aware of our feebleness and his awesomeness. He wants us to be realistic to the point of understanding that as we go about our business in the world it’s going to be like getting a spiritual whooping daily. Therefore we must not lose heart.
Lastly in verse 24 we are given the call: “…whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, is the one who will save it…” It is simply impossible for a human to save their own lives. From birth to death is simply a matter of dying—or growing old to die. Yet if we declare, “Not my will Father, but your will be done, regardless of what happens to me” this is the one who will be saved.
Christ is saying [paraphrasing here] hey, if you think you can go for it, I will not stop you. But the easiest route is to say, hey, Lord I give up this is too much for me and trust Him…he’ll show you the way.
Hope this helps either way fellowship is the lifeblood of Christians and it’s always a pleasure getting into the word.
I appreciate you taking the time to write such a great response. I’ll study the passage.
Welcome to Rediscovering the Church!