Prophetic imagery woven through scripture. Words that paint striking pictures, howling barefoot and naked. But nothing halts me like Paul. Several people prophesy about his journey to Jerusalem and warn him not to go.
But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13 NLT.
I recently participated in an online survey about my home church’s health, leadership and my own personal spiritual growth and engagement. I felt like some of my responses were a disappointing, personal failure. But nothing disturbed me as much as the question: Are you willing to give up everything for Jesus? I’m quite sure I hesitated. Not for lack of love, not for lack of conviction, but because I wondered, in real-life trenches, what would I be called to abandon? This question sparked days of deep thought and preoccupation, well after I selected my response.
On a good day, the answer comes easier. But having just walked through several years of pretty bad days, the wounding is still fresh–even if I don’t burst into tears as quickly. When the Lord put into our hearts the goal of a move, I expected a happy journey. What I got was a spiraling trial. The losses were deep, and the lessons life-changing. I had to abandon my expectations and my debilitating need for another’s approval. The Lord challenged me to look at my own heart and motivation. He showed me that He is all I really have (Father, provider, protector, friend), and ultimately the source of my joy (and rest). When friendships and dreams were the casualties of a spiritual battlefield, I finally see a death to self among the corpses.
Paul speaks of literal death, and that’s certainly one possibility of following Jesus. When I thought of that survey question, I think my first thought was of relationships and things–not so much myself and my desires.
What does it mean to give up everything for Jesus? What does it mean to you?
Father, your prompting on my heart was more than a relocation–it was a redirection of my life. It was a painful walk, but in hindsight, Lord, I’m so grateful. Your grace and love sustained me on days I had little strength. In so many ways, you saved me. You make everything new. Thank you.