Galatians 5:24 says “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
As a Christian, I know there is a war inside me that wages on a daily basis. My flesh has no desire to follow the Holy Spirit. Why would it want to? No one wants to live a life of sacrifice and discomfort. Let’s face it, we as humans are selfish. No one can argue that. It’s natural to be concerned with our own well being. It’s in our DNA. We were born with that instinct. There is only One throughout all of history who wasn’t born that way, and He proved it with the scars in His hands and feet.
In September of 2010, my wife and two children moved to Charlotte NC to volunteer with an inner city youth ministry called One7. For those of you who follow me on a regular basis, you probably already know about it. We came here to make a difference, to change lives and further the Kingdom of God. What has happened is the complete opposite. We are the ones who have been radically changed. God has used the people and youth involved with this ministry to teach us all about dying to ourselves, and living for others.
You all know that writing is my passion. I love to write fiction more than anything else. I have three novellas on Amazon which you can learn about on my Bookshelf page. A lot of my blog posts are fiction. It’s what I do best, or at least that’s how I feel. The more we began to get involved with One7, the more satan tried to distract me with writing. I started to stay home nearly every night and write instead of heading over to the one reason we had been called to Charlotte.
At this present time, I don’t work on my fiction novels like I used to, actually, I haven’t worked on one in quite a while. I do have time for a blog post every now and then, but that’s about it. And unlike a few months ago, I’m okay with that. I’ve learned that Jesus needs to be at the top of my priority list. The number one spot. Everything else falls below that. Family. Job. Ministry. Passion. Hobbies. TV shows. You see where I’m going with this.
I believe that in order to truly know Christ and follow His example, we have to die. We have to die to everything we want. We have to die to everything that other people want for us. We have to die to the part of us that continuously fights against the Spirit. Is that easy? Um, not even close. And it’s not supposed to be easy. Following Christ is hard, and not usually very fun at all. The Bible is riddled with examples of men who followed God and gave up everything for the Gospel.
My wife and I have talked about our life before moving to Charlotte. We were doing absolutely nothing that had purpose when it comes to following Christ. I would work. My wife would home-school the girls. I would get off work. We would eat dinner and then watch TV all night. That was it. All I can do is shake my head when I think back to those days. We even sponsored a child from Honduras for awhile thinking we were making a huge difference. I think we actually believed doing that was somehow making God smile. Maybe it was, but that wasn’t truly giving everything for the Gospel.
I’ve met a lot of people through One7. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I’ve been asked so many times what One7 is all about. It’s so hard to explain. I always tell people they just need to come out there and see for themselves. It’s the closest thing to the early church in Acts that I’ve ever been a part of. There is no model. There is no five year plan. It is completely led by the Holy Spirit. We live in community. We eat together. We worship together. We seek God together. We help each other in times of need.
It hurts me when I see people, who give everything they have for the Gospel and ask for nothing in return, struggle to have food or pay bills. Yet, they do it with joy. Three years ago, I would have merely said a prayer and told them that God would provide. Now, we do anything and everything we can to help. We don’t always have the monetary means to assist, but we can usually find someone who does and is willing. I like giving especially when we get hit with an unexpected bill for hundreds of dollars. While our natural instinct is to close our wallet and save that money for our own bills, I believe that giving it away kicks the devil right in his face with faith that he can’t compete with.
I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I fail. And that’s okay. Through all of my weaknesses, God’s strength and power is made known. I can’t do anything without Him. It’s got to be either all or nothing. There is no grey area when it comes to serving Christ. I used to be a person who went to church, sponsored a child overseas, and felt bad when I saw someone in need. I don’t ever want to be that person again. I don’t want to sit there listening to pastors, leaders, and speakers who talk about living in faith, and then drive back to their million dollar homes in their BMW’s. I want to be on the front lines of the battle. I want to be uncomfortable. I want to be stretched so thin that only God can provide a way out, not me.
How about you? Are you ready to die?
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Have a blessed day