Yesterday out of nowhere my husband quit talking to me. And luckily, I knew exactly where it was coming from. The enemy. So, I had two choices, one to be mad because I didn't even know what I did wrong, or two, choose Jesus. And due to my faithfulness of reading and praying, I began to sing, "I will obey, I will trust in You come what may, I will die to myself and carry Your cross, I will trust in You." And then I walked right past my husband, waved to him and smiled as if nothing had occurred that entire day. I chose to be quiet in the storm and to die to my flesh and be still.
Funny I know, because I am a woman of action and always want to know what's wrong so I can fix it. It's hard for me not to get mad when I didn't do anything wrong and it's even harder to die to all those feelings and trust in the Lord. But I remembered something vital, as I speak the truth to You my house might rock. So, when the waves are crashing against my boat, the only line of defense I have is Jesus. Is He your line of defense? I hope so.
Choosing to die to yourself is very difficult. We are full of raging emotions, such as, love, hate, anger, disappointment and sadness. It is easy for us to choose love when we feel like it. It's even easier for us to follow Christ when everything is going our way. But what if everything isn't going our way? What do you choose in those moments?
Years ago I ran away. I let people determine my walk with Jesus. If they disappointed me, Jesus disappointed me. Then as I grew up, I believed and starting not looking at people but looking at Jesus and then when Jesus didn't fix my marriage, I walked away from Him too. See the pattern. Except Jesus didn't walk away, He continued to pursue me and love me even when I walked as far away from Him as I could. He knew my heart, even though I didn't. I was angry and confused that after 10 years of trying to make my marriage work it was in shambles and my dreams were completely in the gutter. No longer did I dream of companionship, love or anything else. I dreamed of running, so I did, right into sin and then, the consequences. But just as I should have lost all hope, Christ came to me, He watched over me, and I came back surrendering all.
Through my surrender, He changed my status and restored and resurrected two hearts. He brought back together Mark and I because of my obedience and Mark's desire to have His family back, which equaled our family being restored. It's not always perfect and we still need to work at making us work. But it's a whole family. It took Mark and I bowing down to the Lord, forgiving one another and dying to our own needs to be one again.
As I challenge you to die to your flesh, I know what I'm asking you to do. I've done it and it wasn't easy. Just like yesterday, I had to die to it once more. And as I died to myself, I watched God work in His mysterious way. I saw my husband going toward the house but I kept walking the path we have been on for the last four weeks and you know what, he came back to walk the last mile with me. He is not one to say he's sorry and he definitely doesn't do things like that but here he was, walking back to meet me and I saw Jesus!
If you're in a difficult situation, stop and think about Jesus. What would Jesus do if He was me? Give it time to sink in, pray silently and think of a Scripture or song that reminds you of God's character and then walk. Jesus carried the cross on His back and I know that wasn't easy. If He did that for us then He understands what He's asking us to do for Him. This takes practice and a willingness to change old habits. We must learn to walk towards the unloveable and love them anyway. Again, not easy, but necessary to make us better followers of Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of he flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together , and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
I started to type just a little of this Scripture and couldn't stop. There is so much in this passage that should make us want to die to our flesh. He saved us through grace! So the next time your emotions are running rampant, take a breath and think about what Jesus did for you. I know it will be difficult not to lash out, but die to your flesh and see Jesus walking toward you. It's better to live by grace than by anger. Take a moment today to contemplate all the ways God has had grace on your life. I'm sure there are many just in the past week. Remember that and in the moment, have grace.
My prayer today:
O, Lord, I have often walked away and let my emotions cloud my judgement. I come before You asking that You would remind me what grace looks like and help me have it in all situations throughout my life. I know that the flesh is strong and it wants to hold onto every negative emotion there is but as I look upon this passage; I know I must die to my flesh and let Your grace seep in. There are women all over the world going through tremendously hard trials, they may not be able to see grace right now, but I'm asking You to cover them and to protect them from the enemy. I'm asking that You would help women die to their flesh and live for You. I want us all to be obedient and to trust that Your way is the only way. I know this will take time for we are stubborn creatures. But help us live for You, walk with You and talk with You daily. Let Your word by our guide and let our thoughts be on You. I thank You for Your power and for the sacrifice You gave for our grace. We are indebted to You for all time and I ask that we would take that debt seriously. You paid a price so that we could be one with You. Stay close as we embark on new adventures, love the unloveable and die to our flesh. We are only human, Lord, and we need You to guide our feet, our minds and our hearts. We seek You this morning and thank You once again for Your abundant grace. WE ARE YOURS! In Jesus name, AMEN