A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Dying to self; Dying to this world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dying to self; Dying to this world. Show all posts

May 9, 2024

A Confession: Longing to Die to this World and Live for Christ

I know the title of today's blog may sound depressing to some. But within it lies the hope and longing for my true purpose in this world. So, as you may surmise, I am in a place of deep contemplation. Maybe this naturally comes with the aging process. When I was young and could only see the value of life in how it served me and my selfish desires, the meaning of death [in all its ways] was not even on my radar. The world was full of prospects and hope for an exciting, profitable, romantic future. I couldn't wait to see what the world would bring to me.

So, therefore I thought the world would bring me adventure and success and love that exceeded all my dreams. And, of course, being the world, it didn't really care whether I succeeded or not. And, in reality, it never had my best interests at heart. It wasn't until my junior year in college that I began to be taught [by the world] that there were forces actively involved in making sure I was defeated. One of the most pervasive lies [that has now exponentially invaded our culture through social media] is the false principle that "you should change everything about you that is not desirable to the world". That includes everything from your thoughts to your profession to body shape, morals, laws, gender, clothing, education, hair color, sagging skin, social status, the car you drive, your ideas, your politics ... EVERYTHING  that society has not stamped with their approval. But that makes you a slave to the world, doesn't it?  

It took a moment of youthful rebellious pride, on my part, during that junior year of college, in which I discovered it was frowned upon to be independent. You had to stay within the strict boundaries of the University code of loyalty to whatever mindset the elite Board of Regents deemed appropriate to satisfy their overlords. As an employee of the institution, one was not allowed to question policy or "color outside the lines". So, I turned in my resignation. I will admit to a spirit of defiance and unrest in my soul. I could have compromised and continued to toe the line, but my heart was uneasy at the subterfuge and deceit that I witnessed, and although my rash decision left me with no financial means to continue my education, and no place to live, I was more unsettled about the state of my spirit. [It didn't help that I heard my father say he was disappointed in me! That was an arrow to the heart for sure!) 

Then the fear of the unknown set in. I instinctively cried out to Jesus! Although I had no personal relationship with Him, I knew of Him, and my inner being knew that somehow He was the answer. I knew I didn't want to fit in with what the world was showing me as "the right way to live". And in the depths of my despair, He slowly began shaping me and speaking to my heart that He was "the Way, the Truth, and the Life". I'm not going to lie -- my transformation saw many ups and downs; one step forward, two steps back; taking wrong turns on the path He laid out before me; and many years of questions and searching for a way, often living with one foot in this world, and one foot in Jesus's domain.

But it was always obvious that when I was tempted by the world, I was miserable. Something profound was missing! I knew Jesus had the answers, but I didn't know how to disentangle myself from the world. It seemed that I was always being overrun with worry about paying bills, and the couple of relationships I had were unhealthy and brought no fulfillment. The Churches I attended preached the message that faith in Jesus would bring you the riches of the world. But I began to realize that I didn't want what the world had to offer! People were miserable whether they had money or not. I didn't see any relationships that seemed satisfying. And the people in the Churches were just as miserable as those outside. How could I get to Jesus? I knew He was there and holding out His hand. Why couldn't I break loose and run to Him? I wanted Him and not the world!

All was not hopeless, because it was as my crisis of faith was escalating that the Lord brought the man whom He had chosen for me into my life. Mark was the light in the midst of the world's darkness. He had a visible faith and a strength in spirit that helped me begin to seek Jesus in an honest, sincere way. After two years, we became engaged. Then one night, I believe the Enemy laid out his plan to keep my union with Jesus and Mark from ever happening. A hit-and run driver slammed into the rear-end of my car on a well-lit [and well-traveled] stretch of a major highway through the heart of downtown Austin, TX, sending my little car rolling end over end up an embankment. I cried out for God with each rotation, glass shattering all over the interior, and the roof caving in just an inch from my brain. No one stopped to help. I was able to climb out of the car through the passenger side and run [with heart pounding and adrenaline skyrocketing] across the highway to summon help at a hotel. I ended up with only a mild headache and only 6 stitches in my head. God had gotten my attention!

To make a long story short that was the beginning of my separation from the world. I had a hunger to know Jesus and His plan for my life. That also meant that I began to feel that I didn't belong to the rest of the world. Both mine and Mark's goals became different and distinct from everyone we knew -- our family and friends struggled to identify with us in the same way they had before. Our life looked different than everyone else's. But I was blessed with a husband who filled His Godly mandate as the leader of our home, and who took his cues [regarding who he was to be in this world] from the Creator of the Universe. We were a team; devoted to encouraging and equipping each other to be who Jesus made us to be, and to have the courage to follow His lead. I will tell you that Mark has never questioned His trust in the Lord, while it has been a lesson in perseverance for me to reach that same level of certainty and freedom of doubt that the Enemy is so good at sowing into our minds.

It's been a life of gaining the knowledge of the Lord and the revelations of His purpose for me.And once I learned that my relationship with Jesus is my answer to the disappointments of this world, I am not afraid of death -- of physical death; of the death of my dreams; of the death of worldly ties and temptations. In fact, when I die to those things is when I will be the most alive. While on this earth, I long for separation from this world and yearn for the excitement and adventure of belonging to Jesus! Because I know that He lives in me, I know the possibilities of all I can receive directly from Him as the Holy Spirit helps me to follow the path He has laid out before me. The riches of a life lived in obedience to Christ overflows into every aspect of this physical world. It colors it vibrantly and dramatically, bringing love, joy, and peace -- even in the midst of the defeat the Enemy is whispering.

You see, I know that as long as I am on this side of Heaven, Satan's forms of physical and spiritual death are always stalking me. They are always fanning the flames of doubt, fear, anxiety, and abandonment; aiming those fiery darts at my heart, causing confusion. But those times of "shaken confidence" are like the shaking I felt in that out-of-control car on that dark night. The result is that I cry out to God, and His Life [in me] rushes in to support my mind, heart, soul and spirit! I know who I am and whose I am! I know that I don't need to change everything about me to satisfy the desires of this world -- I long for the death of all those desires; to die to this world as I long only to change everything in me to please the will of my God, and my Lord and Savior. 

I am not oblivious to the deterioration of this world; of the destruction that may soon come upon my nation and my family. I am very aware that Death is coming for all of us who profess our undying faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. But I also know that out of that darkness will spring forth the Light of the Universe; a Love so powerful that Victory is ours! We need have no fear of the sting of death; no anxiety as to our future; no worry about our destiny. I truly believe that the Lord Jesus has prepared a table for us in the midst of our enemies; that He has anointed and refreshed our heads with oil [the Holy Spirit]; and our cups [of spiritual provision] will overflow. As we die, more and more, to the demands of this world, He is preparing us for our service to His Kingdom -- the one presently on this earth, and the everlasting, fulfilled Kingdom when we are re-united with Him in Eternity. So, I glory in the freedom from the demands of this world that comes when I seek to willingly die to self. Each day brings me closer to being in His presence, and absent from this earthly realm. May the Glory and Majesty of the Lord come soon!

Psalm 23:4    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. (Amplified Version)