To follow Christ is to go against every value of this culture. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says: “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” Unlike the world, the Christian does not live for him or herself but for Jesus Christ.
The life of faith is hard. There is an unseen battle for our wills. A daily battle.
It is in moments of testing that me of little faith questions what I am doing: Why am I putting all of my hope and trust into something I cannot see? Why am I seeking first the Kingdom of God rather than this world? Why am I passing opportunities to advance myself in this life?
Though I am faithless, the Lord remains faithful. His Spirit speaks truth to my heart: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
The truth is I am surprised when trials come, and I am distraught when the Lord asks me to make costly sacrifices for His glory. My flesh clings to this world. My flesh wants to be successful in this life. My flesh wants to become greater not less.
The Spirit within me sheds God’s overwhelming love abroad in my darkened, sinner’s heart. It is in the Spirit that I am given renewed strength to walk in the way of the cross. It is in the Spirit that I am reminded that my daily death to self pales in comparison to the price Jesus paid. The Son of God who knew no sin died a gruesome death on a cross that I might have eternal life. I have been bought with His precious blood and my life is not my own. All I am is His. I exist to bring fame to His name. I exist to glorify Him forever.
2 Corinthians 4:13-12 says: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” As Christ was crucified, so are we crucified. Crucifixion is an excruciating process, but as Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him, so also do we bear the cross for the joy set before us. To live is Christ and to die is gain! This world is not our home. Our citizenship is in Heaven. May we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.
Lord flood our hearts with Your relentless love. Grant us the grace to be crucified to self that You might live through us. May we accept Your call with thanksgiving and joy, and may we have fellowship with You as we partake in Your sufferings. May we count all as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing You.