Monday, April 06, 2009

My Prized Rights

For it has been granted to me that for the sake of Christ I should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.  Philippians 1:29 
Christ offers me the inestimable privilege of sharing with Him in some little measure; in the edge of the fellowship of His sufferings.  AND it's not a waste but God wants to transform my life from an ugly useless branch to an arrow, a tool useable in His hands and for the furtherance of His purposes (John 15).
Am I willing for the whittling, sandpapering, stripping processes necessary in my Christian life so that my life will "bear more fruit"? "My willingness will be a measure of the sincerity of my desire to express my heartfelt gratitude to Him for His so-great salvation." Helen Roseveare Can I see my minor sacrifices in the light of the GREAT sacrifice of Calvary where Christ gave it all for me? Can I see the cost as minimal compared to the reality of the gain? Do I accept His right to demand my willingness to pay such a price in order to enter into the privilege and joy of being used in His purposes? Can I give Him my heart and let Him love through it whom and how He wills, even if this seems at times to break my heart?
I confess that as I have pondered these thoughts and questions, I have seen how much I have not surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.  God has shown me multiple prized rights that I am holding onto, some with a death grip. The biggest is my right to not suffer or hurt.Yet, where did that come from? Jesus Christ should have NEVER had to suffer and yet He have up His right to suffer for me. What about my right to self-defense? I confess that it's really hard for me to not defend myself even when I know that if I defend myself it's only pride. And often if I don't defend myself directly to someone then I criticize and tear them down behind their backs.  And yet there were times when Jesus Christ was given an opportunity to defend Himself and He didn't even utter a word. What about my right for self-pity, self-justification, self-vindication?  This Easter season God is showing me just how many rights that Jesus Christ willingly gave up for me.  I found myself wondering, who do I think I am when my Lord willing surrendered His rights and suffered far more than I can every possibly suffer? I see clearly how easy it is to allow SELF to rule my life, to be blinded by my pride and how far I am from where I long to be.

1 comment:

Laurie M. said...

Oh Deb,

The prospect of suffering is frightening - to all of us. Even our Lord did not relish it, but agonized at the prospect. I've been rather overwhelmed of late by the prospect of suffering through the reading of a book by Os Guinness which is at the moment about tearing my heart out. I consider the suffering in the world in general, and by Christians in particular and wonder how I could ever stand up to such things for the sake of Christ, how ill equipped I am in my simple world. It's hard enough to trust Him over the small problems and indignities I suffer now. I can only hope that when the time comes to suffer greater things, the needed grace will come as well. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow, or be anxious. The grace for each day's suffering will be given to us new that morning. And we are to feel free then to seek the kingdom, and the joy that is set before us....May the Lord grant us grace to do just that.

Your perseverance in the difficult work you've been called to is an inspiration to me. And your friendship is precious.