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Dying daily & an easy Yoke?

"Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts." Psalm 105:2

New born babies can't talk.  And even if they could, they are pretty much concerned with their own needs.  They literally can't see more than a foot in front of them.  They are treasured.  Loved.  Delighted in.  But, they don't even realize it.  Most of the time, their mommies care for them so much that they would give their own life to protect them.  But, as babies, they haven't grown up enough to tell the world how amazing their mommy is.

I am tired of being a baby believer.  For years I believed.  But, I couldn't see past my own needs and wants.  And sadly, whenever I grew just the tinyist bit (or thought I did), it quickly became easy to see other peoples' rough edges.  Often I was much more aware of their rough edges than I was of my own.  Although I've spent years beating myself up and not feeling good enough, I probably spent just as much time - if not more - pointing the finger.  As if somehow, that would make me feel better about myself.

I'm afraid so many of us are stuck in this spot that we've given believers a pretty really bad name.  So, not only have I been afraid to "proclaim His name" because I was too wrapped up in my own world to see Him, I have also been afraid to make him known "among the nations" (or even among my co-workers) because I was ashamed to associate myself with finger pointing papooses.

I've come to realize lately that although Christians are often seen as big-headed, critical, disapproving, bigots (and lets admit it, we can be some times), these things are exactly the opposite of what a Christ follower should be.  As we grow in Christ we become more and more aware of our sin.  And, as we learn to come before the Lord to be washed clean daily, we are more and more - humbled, thankful, amazed & awe-struck that he gave his life for sinners such as us. 

But, it gets even better than that!  He didn't just die to forgive us for our sins, his Spirit actually resides in us.  And, if we let Him, he will change us in extraordinary ways - on a daily, hourly, moment by moment, second by second basis.   Our temptation, and the enemies biggest ploy, is to keep us focused on our needs and wants - instead of on the Spirit's still small voice.

As I have been asking God to help me differentiate between my flesh and His spirit working in me, I'm continually blown away.  For example, stress.  It is a normal, natural, human, unchangeable fact of life, right?  You know what I'm talking about - you feel it at work in your body before you even recognize that something is wrong.  Perhaps your shoulders tense, your throat swells, your stomach churns, your head spins.  It is of the flesh - yup, downright sinful.  The flesh (body) is rebelling against the Spirit.  Instead of trusting the all-knowing, all powerful, most loving, perfect and sovereign God, the flesh is trying to control the moment.

Consider the following verses...

"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

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
Romans 12:1

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:30

 How does being "crucified with Christ", "deny themselves", "take up their cross", "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" relate to His "yoke is easy and my burden is light"?

Well, here is the incredibly exciting thing, dying to ourselves is SO MUCH EASIER AND LIGHTER than continually fighting for what we want.

What does this look like in real life?  Lets talk about this exact moment.  It is 7:08.  My kids get up at 7:30.  I really would LOVE to get this blog post done before they wake up but I have SOOOO much more to say.  I feel my shoulders tensing even now because I WANT TO FINISH THIS.  The physical sensation of my shoulders tensing is a red flag.  It opens my eyes to the fact that my body, and mind wants something.  And there is a good chance it isn't going to happen.  So I have a choice.  I can rush like a mad woman to say all that I want to say,  and more than likely end up angry and frustrated when my kids get up.  Or I can say, 

"Not my will, but yours be done"
Luke 22:42

And leave it at that - at least for now :)


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