Die to ourselves, live for Christ

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Galatians 2:20 – when I read it, my first impression was

“Huh?”

Bit of an oxymoron: I’m dead (I no longer live) but still I live. I live by faith in the son of God. The whole upside down principal of God’s Kingdom always was a bit of an enigma to me, until I started experiencing them in my own life. For example, Loving your enemies. (Instead of hate)

 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)

Why do we even have to care about the enemies, when we can’t even love our own neighbors? But Jesus loved and prayed for the ones who persecuted him. Even when he was on the cross, he uttered “Father Forgive them” It’s almost a mind-blowing concept, especially if you don’t know the person of Jesus. I remember the first time I loved on the person who was cursing me and hating on me, I think I was half-curious, if I can even do it. The key here is never using our own strength but using the strength of Christ to love them.

Day after day, loving on someone who has something against you isn’t the easiest thing, but you will see softening of their heart as Holy spirit works on them. It’s pretty fascinating. If you haven’t tried, please go ahead and actively try loving the ones who hate you. They’ll think you’re crazy, you’ll think you’re crazy, and probably everyone will think you’re crazy. But the Lord will see your heart, he will reward you.

What does it even mean to be crucified with Christ?

We talk a lot about dying to ourselves and our flesh daily. But I wonder if we really put that into action. When we are dead to ourself and our flesh, would we ever argue with others and fight? Would we throw fits and complain about how we are being mistreated?

When something’s dead, there is nothing but silence and stillness. (If you are dead, you usually don’t talk back)

It seems like my flesh is always talking back at me yapping and going “I don’t like this, and I don’t like that and I’m so frustrated and can’t believe so-and-so did that, blah-blah-blah..” It’s nuts. I want to know what it is like to truly die to self and to live ONLY for Christ. I want to empty myself of me and all my selfish thoughts and start living only for Christ.

God does not only want a part of ourselves, but whole. 100 percent of who we are. He wants full ownership because we belong to him. When we give him 99 percent but decide to hold back that 1% God cannot really use us. Whether it is an idol or secret sin. He is waiting for us to fully surrender ourselves to him. I need to search my life and see if there is even a small thing I’m holding back from him. “God, please you can take everything but this one thing” This will NOT work.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139 23-24)

Lord search me and test me. If there is anything that is offensive to you, please point them all out to me. I want to truly learn what it is like to die to myself and live for you and your glory only, Amen.

Rest, dear, rest.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:3)

Few weeks ago, as I was reading through Exodus and Leviticus, God spoke to me about the Sabbath and rest. Genesis 2:3 is such a beautiful representation of “rest” that I had to meditate on this for a while. God has spent 6 days creating heavens and the earth, he created all the plants, animals and even us! But after finishing all the work of creation, on 7th day, he rested. My first, simple question was “Why did he rest?” Did God, after doing a whole bunch of creating for 6 days, get tired? Is that why he rested?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary... (Isaiah 40:28)

No, I don’t think that’s it. He is an all-powerful God, he could have worked 7 days, 70 days and 7000 years if he wanted, but it was an intentional decision on his part to take a day to “rest’. I think there is something so powerful and key in this.

I used to think God “blessed’ he seventh day and made it holy, and that’s why he rested on that day, but actually it was the other way around. He rested, and because he rested, he blessed that day. It’s so interesting that from his day of rest, his blessing came.

A lot of the sermons lately I’ve been hearing about rest was mostly focused on the part of as human, we get tired and weary as we are ministering to others. So that’s why we need to rest in the arms of Christ. That is true, but I started to re-think about the order.

We work hard, and minister to others -> We get tired and weary -> We go do Christ for rest so we can recharge.

What if it was the other way around?

We rest in his presence -> We get filled with his spirit and we are overflowing in love -> We go out and minister to others from that overflow.

What if we rested in his presence more often and not wait until we get burnt out? What if everything we do came from the place of spending time with God? What if God created rest not as a rescue plan from being burnt out but as a way to bless us?

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters. (Psalm 23:1-2)

This is one of my favorite verse in the bible, and every time I read this, I picture myself on this green hill on a sunny day. I hear the water running ever so subtly in the background and my eyes are closed. My Lord, my shepherd, he is the one who made me lie down and he is the one who led me beside the quiet waters.

From the place of rest, he will speak to us. He will fill us with his spirit. He will bless us. Not just on a Sunday, or not only when I’m are tired, but always, I pray I will find rest in him.

Do not be anxious about anything

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I took 3 days off work due to the move, and this morning bright and early around 6am, signed back on to my work email. Lo and behold, there were over a hundred new messages and emails. Then two of my freelance clients emailed me about revisions and it was so difficult to understand what they meant. I had so many text messages I needed to reply to and calls to make. I had to sign off on so many tickets and get back to a ton of people who are constantly asking me questions. In addition to all this, I kept on getting kick off of VPN and my computer’s search engine kept on re-directing me to wrong sites due to Malware. Sheeeesh. Talk about Murphy’s Law.

I had non-stop back to back meetings and as the time progressed, I could feel the “angst”. It was creeping up on me. We have so much unpacking and re-organizing to do at the apartment. I sat on my sofa, and went on Instacart to start ordering RIDICULOUS amounts of snacks, 10 boxes of my favorite cereal, twinkies, brownies, cookies, etc. The stress was quite real.

Whenever I get stressed, my husband notices right away, he has this sixth sense that he can just smell my stress from a distance. lol

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that you cannot function properly? Many people have crutches, things they fall back on, I would say mine is probably sugary snacks. But how many times do we actually fall back on God?

Be still and know that I’m God. (Psalm 46:10)

How many times have I paced back and forth restlessly and stuffed my face with snacks to calm my nerves? How many times did I feel like I wanted to avoid everything and just run away? Why run away? why not run towards my father in heaven instead?

It says in the bible, in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Have I done this in times when I felt anxious and stressed out? I’ve been depending on myself and my own strength to carry me through, and that’s why I had to struggle so much with stress. (And to be honest, I’m not a type of person who gets stressed so easily)

Lord, I am so thankful that I have a JOB! I have a job I LOVE and I get to make a living in the midst of Pandemic, where unemployment is everywhere. I am truly so grateful, and I don’t know why I’m even thinking that I’m stressed out, because all these things are just so petty! I have a roof over my head and enough to eat on my table daily. I have working limbs and I can see hear, and speak. Nothing hurts in my body and I feel great. I have a wonderful family who loves me so much and a husband that adores me day and night. In-Laws SO wonderful that I consider them as my own parents. Thank you for wonderful friends you’ve sent me who intercedes for me all the time and love on me.

To think of it, I have no other request except the one I constantly pray for. Lord, shape me to be more like you. Amen.