It’s not easy choosing to follow the Lord. If they told you it would be, they lied.
It’ll break your heart. He’ll break your heart. They’ll break your heart. You’ll find yourself pleading with the God of the Universe for just one, small, crumb from His table…
It’s not easy. It’s devastating, at times. Following Jesus leaves you bare, exposed, and open.
But, it’s also romantic–the Creator of all things, holding each atom together in perfect harmony, is deeply, passionately, fervently in love with you.
It’s poetic–a man, climbing upon a cross to die for his friends. Then offering them life eternal.
It’s wild–life with Christ, is wild. Wildly unpredictable. Wildly passionate. Wildly unknowable and, yet, seeping with love and beauty.
I’ve chosen a word for the year for over 10 years now. Back when I was foolish, and big-eyed, and just engaged to my husband he shared the practice with me. Inspired, I chose the word “humility” and watched as God was more than happy to oblige me. Needless to say, it was a miserable year.
(Note to self: do not choose a word for yourself. Allow the Holy Spirit to choose for you)
I’ve battled and slayed many more words over the years: victory, patience, freedom, hope.
None of these ideas have come easily. As words on paper, they look lovely and simple, filled with Christian ideals and Jesus. But, in practice and in trial, these words are sharp, piercing things that strike us where we least expect it.
Jesus knows this. The Holy Spirit knows that when He whispers His word to us that we don’t automatically receive it, but rather that He is inviting us to walk through the valley or climb the mountain to apprehend it.
No one said it would be easy….
I was happy for 2015 to leave. I dreaded praying for my new word for the year, for fear that Jesus would answer me with some dreadful, heavy word that would require 365 days to come to pass.
Instead, I prayed and was surprised by what I heard: sacrifice and devotion.
Two words that are so infrequently used in the church anymore. They are old-fashioned ideas, only talked about when reading a specific scripture, but not actually set in motion today. They hearken back to a time gone by–when men and women in true faith would discuss such things.
They are unsexy and bordering on antiquated. What was I supposed to do?
I started flipping through the Bible. What does this mean? How do I sacrifice and devote myself unto the Lord?
Sacrifice in the Old Testament meant blood-shed. Sacrifice in the New testament meant Christ did it for us and, instead, invites us to live our lives as holy sacrifices before Him, devoted–bound up in love, loyalty, and ardor for Him.
Then I read this:
“The secret heart is devotion’s temple; there the saint lights the flame of purest sacrifice, which burns unseen but not unaccepted.” -Hannah More
And I smiled because I know…
Just like every word the Lord has ever given me, these two words are the same. They are timely. They are necessary. They are exactly what I needed to hear and Jesus has a purpose.
He didn’t promise me it would be easy. He said He would be with me. He didn’t promise me a simple stroll through the Valley, but He did say He would never leave nor forsake me.
May my heart be lit ablaze with the purest sacrifice, where I can retreat, rest, and love my God in unfettered devotion.
It won’t be easy, but most things worth having never are.
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