Work hard, yes. Be grateful for America’s freedoms. Understand, however, that the American Dream will not give you an abundant life.
Usually, you need the ladder to break (as well as a few prideful bones) before you start seeing it for what it is. Chronic Fatigue meant rendered my achieving futile. I lost contact with people I thought to be friends. I lost my identity. I began to question God.
But, in this place, with nothing to achieve or attain, I began seeing things more clearly. And although this was a dang hard season, my time in the valley was a blessing.
You find out who you are and what you love when everything’s gone. No shadowboxing or mirages in the valley.
That’s why those in the valley and the ones with few material possessions are often more prepared to hear the gospel. The Pharisees had no interest in following Jesus. They had status and security, thank you.
What does all of this mean for you and me? Here are a few concluding thoughts.
You can’t follow Jesus if you expect him to do all the dying.
A. W. Tozer once said, “We want to be saved, but we insist Christ do all the dying.” If you’re not carrying a cross, you’re probably sitting on a throne, your throne. Following Jesus involves sacrifice. It involves letting go, changing, repenting. These things are hard. But, honestly, has anything easy ever brought you lasting satisfaction? Of course not.
Are you carrying your cross or sitting on your throne?
Ask hard questions.
You remember, as a young lad, someone saying we only use 10% of our brains? Well, it’s true. Neuroscience can now confirm it. So what’s up with the other 90%? It’s called the unconscious. We’re largely unaware of the goings-on in the deeper parts of our brain. But brain science has shown that most of our biases and prejudices live here, in the unconscious.
If you don’t go below the surface, you will never know WHY you do what you do. This is what I call creative self-critique. It’s not judgmental or shameful. It’s about growth. Next time you get angry, upset, or find yourself trapped in comparison, ask some hard questions. Why am I angry? What false value drives this? Get below the surface. Real transformation occurs here.
Detach from any allegiance other than Jesus.
If you can’t detach from something, then you’re addicted. We associate addiction with porn or alcohol. Those are sources of addiction, no doubt. But the word “addiction” literally means “to devout or surrender.” An addict is a person who is enslaved to something. You can be enslaved to your kids, your
Does that make sense?
Anything that controls your emotions and actions is an addiction. And addictions keep you from experiencing the abundant life in Christ.
Much of spiritual growth is about recognizing things that hijack your emotions and learning to detach from them. The ones who make this a discipline are the ones who find Life.
Giving everything to Jesus is a worthy pursuit. I believe that with all of my being. You won’t do this perfectly and it doesn’t happen overnight. And that’s okay. Grace fills the gaps. When you mess up, grace reminds you that God is for you. Grace keeps failure was
In the presence of Grace, you’re never too far gone. You can always get up, no matter how nasty the fall.
This is the beauty and power of God’s grace. Failing doesn’t mean you’re disqualified. It allows you to keep moving forward, on the journey to Christlikeness., with all its twists and turns, roadblocks and potholes, the simple pursuit of becoming more like your Creator.
May we always strive to carry a cross rather than sit on a throne.
Grace and peace, friends.
This article was written by Frank Powell and originally appeared at his blog. Find it here.
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