Last week when I was walking out of Subway, the Lord laid a question on my heart. “Would you walk through fire to get to me?” And over the last few days, this has been a lingering subject within my own heart. Yesterday I just felt this need to take a walk and as I was rounding the neighborhood pond, I got the answer of truth within myself. “No, I wouldn’t choose to walk through fire to get to you.” I can make excuses as to why that authentic answer would be so telling of myself – that it’s because there would be another way or provision that a loving God would send to me – that a Father who loves me would never require me to walk through fire… But the spiritual discussion didn’t stop there. As I dig deeper I see that the requirement is upon my life and it’s because of my flesh waring against His spirit that HE does the provisions needed… and in this I find greater meaning to “what’s impossible to man, is possibly only to God.”
Jesus said he had the power to lay down his life and pick it back up again. And Jesus did lay down his life in demonstration of the purest, most unselfish love known to all of creation. But would I choose that? Do I have the power to walk into a sacrificial love affair that denies self – that kills the flesh and all of its desires in order to receive something my physical eyes can’t even see? When the rich man told Jesus that he had followed all of the commandments and lived for God, Jesus said there’s something else required of you – you must sell all of your stuff and give it to the poor. He couldn’t do it. And seeing this, the disciples were alarmed, because they knew that they too couldn’t do it. They basically said, “Well if so much is required, then who could possibly be saved?” And that’s when Jesus said, “what’s impossible to men is possible to God.”
So how does God accomplish this in us? And, I feel like the Lord has shown me repeatedly this mingling of His greatest work finished on the cross, with the first sin of all… self love. Self love is what plants a seed of entitlement in our lives – to not be content with what we have, as scripture directs us to do, but to seek to exhalt ourselves by our own means and ideas, fighting against God’s will for our lives that is seated second place to our own will for our lives, our wants and desires. Self love is what was the one ingredient missing from the cross that they held against Jesus in their speech that day. They didn’t understand it – that the will of the Almighty God would exclude the salvation of flesh in His Son Jesus Christ, but was instead sacrificial in nature to the flesh. But yet, this is the finished work of our “forerunner” who sent His chosen ones into the world to follow in His example. He sent them out two by two with nothing.. not even shoes on their feet and equipped with instructions and warnings of what they would endure – they would be hated as He was hated. They would not be accepted and would walk through many afflictions and trials and suffering along the way. But, they would receive the comforter to lead them, guide them and comfort them “internally” as that is where the Kingdom of God lives.
I watched a teaching yesterday in study of Jesus’ words when he told the pharisees perhaps the most profound thing ever spoken. You can’t see this kingdom. It’s not here. Meaning everything your eyes can behold and your hands can touch on this earth is NOT the Kingdom of God. And this Kingdom that was established when Jesus rose to the right hand of the Father is something that had never existed before in this dominion – the angels even wondered and looked into it.. and the prophets of old foretold of it, as none of them had yet received this promise but foretold of it to come… Jesus. God in us is that Kingdom – an internal relationship that stands when everything else is shaken. It was the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus as he laid down His life for the sake of others and it was power of the Holy Spirit (which had then entered them), that sent the apostles into great danger and even gave them supernatural “internal” strength as they faced their own deaths and argued things like “Turn me upside down when you kill me because I’m not worthy of being killed in the same manner my Lord was crucified.” Why weren’t they begging for their lives? Why didn’t they seek to save their lives (Jesus said those who did this would lose life.)… So what life did they lose and what life did they gain? – I can’t find anything in the Word of God once that final gift was given, Jesus Christ and the comforter that followed Him going to the Father… that illustrates a desire of self-righteousness, self-made will or self promotion in the lives of his apostles He sent into the world. I can’t find anything that speaks of them chasing after love affairs with women, mansions or riches – I can’t even find them chasing after life in the flesh, in any shape or form… In fact the one prayer where Paul cried to the Lord asking for the thorn in his side to be removed, God said “no.” The boldness of their faith in Christ in the unseen things that awaited them after their race here is finished (not in the here and now), is mind-boggling to me. I feel that they DID walk through fire to get to Jesus.
Here is what I feel like the Lord is showing me as I sift through this on a very deep level within myself. What I’m not able to lay down, he will lay down for me. If I make a god of anything here, he will lovingly take that thing from me. And I think sometimes these things are small and subtle changes… but then at other times these are permanent and life-shattering changes. But in the end of this process, the babylons within myself will ultimately be destroyed and only then does our loving Father begin to reveal to us the mysteries of the unseen in which HE LOVED US SO MUCH, He would be long-suffering to us – pained when we’re pained… with heart-felt weeping as our hearts our shattered, but unfolding the sacrificial love of losing my life to gain true life as a loving Father that removes everything out of us that would’ve eternally killed us.
In my own walk with pride and control, I continue to learn that self-made philosophies are a delusion that will fail in the lives of anyone who is called by God. I have been shown repeatedly that thinking anything of myself in having the power either spiritually or physically to will MY desires into existence both with and without the word of God as a tool of for self-seeking gain, exhalation and benefit has stood against the POWER OF GOD that reveals the sacrificial person of Jesus Christ on the cross – now within us… The only love affair that completes my heart. In self love we paint the picture of a god that wants to give us our heart’s desires in the flesh, and dismiss that the gift was Jesus himself – Jesus the person who is Himself preeminent and all-inclusively THE LIFE, THE WAY and THE TRUTH. He is the secret place where joy is made full and there is nothing else to gain or want or desire, but HIM.
So what happens when, the things we hold so dear are ripped away from us?.. permanently...? Eyes begin to open. When the things of this world can’t fix the problem.. can’t replace a loved one that is lost… can’t bandage our heartbreak and can’t repair the emptiness that is hinged upon our deepest dreams and desires of what WE HOPE our lives will look like here on earth… we begin to see HIM as the goal. The only goal. He is the God that gives and takes away and He loves us so much HE GAVE us the one thing we need.. Jesus Christ.
Father, I just want to know Him more… I want to find that place of boldness where nothing in this world that hurts me, pains me, persecutes me or damages my earthly life beyond repair can hinder the gift of the Kingdom that you offer in the invitation of His sacrifice. I don’t want to get lost in the fairy tales the enemy is selling and I don’t want make idols of anything, including myself. Father help me to walk this out with inner joy and to be transformed into your daughter that LOVES YOU above all things.. wants YOU more than anything else and walks through the fire rejoicing because you stripped all the things that would have killed me away from me in order to show me the only thing I really need…. Jesus. And Lord help me to not be deceived as so many here come in your name proclaiming to know the secret things of YOU – to have the truth and the life and the way. But the way Jesus demonstrated, doesn’t match these worldly philosophies that tickle my ears and please my flesh and give me hope in the temporal things.. Help me to hear your voice and shut my ears to everything else – please don’t let the enemy tempt me, beguile me or sift me as wheat. Lord help me to hold onto the blessed hope of the finishing of my faith and the glory of Jesus that can’t be compared to the temporary suffering in this place. Thank you for your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,…” – 2 Timothy 3
While Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will all this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, “See to it that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ (the way the truth and the life) and will deceive many.… – Mathew 24