From one cranky, grumpy, restless, cynical, indecisive Jesus follower to another.
I can tell when I am getting tired. An ache starts inside of me. I used to be able to stay on top of it by getting away for spiritual retreats once every couple of months, but I know that I am overdue for a day or two in a place of solitude spending time in God’s Presence…alone.
When my gauges start to creep towards empty, I become very cranky, grumpy, restless, unable to focus, easily depressed, forgetful, cynical, indecisive, and any future vision is veiled by clouds. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m a delight to be around. Oh, I become more sarcastic, too.
Out of desperation I’ve now scheduled two days away, but I also think that God has some things He wants me to grasp about Him and myself in the time before I get to that solitude. These are things that I only fully understand when I feel exhausted, spent, and wasted.
A bit into this funk I started reading a great book that has been on my reading list for quite some time by Dr. Eric Sandras titled, “Buck Naked Spirituality.” An amazing read by the way.
As Sandras started unpacking Romans 11, it was if God whispered to me, “Tell me again why you work so hard at this thing I called you to when all I really asked you to do was die to yourself so I can live through you?”
He started to bring me into Romans 11 and bring His truth home…again. Take a moment to read Romans 11:33 – 12:1 and then follow along.
For From Him …Oh, that’s right, it all really does come from HIm, doesn’t it? Every blessing, every provision, every need that gets filled, every gift, every vision, every desire, every problem that gets solved – It’s all His, not mine. I truly bring nothing to the table, except for what He’s given me.
And Through Him…Right, my strength means absolutely nothing in the middle of what He’s called me to. Nothing. It is in my weakness that He shows up. It is only through HIm that lives are transformed. It is only Through Him that hope is expressed and embraced. At the end of the day I am at best simply the conduit for His blessing to reach others.
And To Him are all things…He is the One who is to get all of the glory and honor through this. It all returns to Him. Every blessing is to be used not for my consumption or my sense of accomplishment, but To Him. All of a sudden my concept of accomplishing a lot for God seems so meaningless. As if that is what He wanted, especially when looking at verse 35 where He points out “Who has ever given to God that He should repay Him?
To Him be the glory forever. Transformed lives look to Him and give Him the glory. Oh, that He could increase and I could decrease. Oh, that I could be more invisible and He could be more visible.
But then chapter 12 verse 1 holds the key to it all for me. Now, it took a bit of mental gymnastics to keep reading right past that big 12 that somehow tells my brain that there is a change in thought. But, as I pushed through and saw this as a continual thought, it brought forth life.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
This is my way of demonstrating that All things are From, Through and To God…bringing HIm glory forever. This is my act of spiritual worship…true worship.
So, all it really takes is to become a living sacrifice – a dying to me so that He can live His life through me. A dying to my self centered interests. A dying to my desires and wishes and yes even dreams…and yes even the good ones. A dying to those “good things” that I so desire to hold onto. A dying to the gods I have made…even the ones that I need others to help me see. A dying to the way I have made God into my image, rather than the way He intended it. A dying to the way that I put my words in God’s mouth rather than His words in mine. Sounds like a lifetime of dying. I am thinking maybe He planned it that way.
And, an awakening to His resurrection life.
It means climbing back up on that altar that I keep crawling down from. It means truly living for Him…everything on the altar…laid down…at His disposal…ready to have Him live through me with His strength to bring Him glory.
The altar never has been a comfortable place to lay down, but it is the right place…and the only place for tired, weary, burnt up, wasted, grumpy people like myself to again remember that it truly never was meant to be about me in the first place.