What Say You?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’ Matthew 16:24-26
These particular verses come in the chapter where Jesus predicts his death to his disciples. He tells them of the exact events that will occur and is met with opposition. The one who is brave enough (or stupid enough) to question the happenings Christ just outlined is Peter.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be because this is the guy who, ten chapters later in Matthew, confesses his love for Christ and then denies him three times. Did I mention he also cuts off the ear of one of the men who arrested Jesus? Peter is definitely a character.
If you’ve walked the Christian road for any amount of time, the likelihood that you’ve heard a message preached on the verse above is great. Oftentimes we hear a message that exhorts us to rise above ourselves and live our lives to honor Christ with no regard for what we’ll receive. And we are told that when we take this path we will truly find life.
I remember the fall of 1995 vividly. The San Antonio apartment where my husband, Chris, and I resided was about 750 square feet. We spent a lot of time playing music together. We even wrote our first song there. A bigger event that transpired while we were living there was God’s calling on our lives to surrender. Surrender what, you might ask.
Everything. And I didn’t know if I wanted to.
Chris felt sure that we were called into full-time vocational ministry. I didn’t have a desire whatsoever to do that for a living. Volunteering was just fine with me. But, after wrestling with God about it for a few months, I eventually surrendered. And that was the beginning of me truly finding life.
Travel ahead eight years if you will and you’ll find me hearing from God yet again about the direction in my life. With my marriage absolutely on the rocks due to my husband's infidelity, I was and still am convinced that God called me to stay and work things out. That encouraged many and frightened plenty. I realize the ones who shared their concern were those who’d known me for some time and just wanted me to be okay. It might have seemed logical for me to save face and walk away from my marriage. But, I chose to follow God’s direction and literally lose my life. And again, I found it.
During the last seven years, I have had more life given to me by God than I could contain. Sometimes I just sit and think about how much I’ve been given. I have ample opportunities to fulfill God’s calling on my life as I help other women. We are very close to living in financial freedom. I can’t imagine my life getting any richer and fuller than it already is. But then God shows up and brings abundant joy and more blessings than I can comprehend. And I got all this because I lost the life I thought was amazing? Chalk that up to Isaiah 55:8-9.
I don’t remember the exact day but God spoke profoundly to me. His voice was not audible but the message is indelibly written on my heart. I could not deny His still, small voice that day. I was praying and simply sitting in awe of the amazing life I live and asked, “Why me, Lord?” His reply was simple.
Because you said yes.
I sat upright and realized that back in 1995 I had a choice to make. I could have said no and kept the life I enjoyed. Or, I could have said yes and received a life that I never could have imagined. And occasionally still have to pinch myself to make sure this abundant life is real.
So, what say you? Yes or no? It’s that simple.In Him,
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