Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with a good friend, in which she was asking me what was the most significant thing that had happened or that I did in this year. With a bit of thought, I knew it was my decision to commit a year to serve in missions in East Asia, despite strong opposition from my parents. It was a decision to literally “go from [my] country, [my] people and [my] father’s household” to the land God had shown me (Gen 12:1).
When God asks you to surrender and trust in Him, that thing that you need to surrender might seem like the biggest thing in the world. It might be your world. For me, the thought of losing my relationship with my parents was devastating. Family is everything. Losing that… I’m not sure I’ve faced a more difficult decision.
Yet, this is exactly the type of life that God calls us to. It is a life of dying to self. Death is not a pleasant thing. We can look to Christ and see this to be true. His death was not easy. He walked the road of suffering (la via dolorosa) to reach His death.
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. - Luke 22:41-44
Yet, only when He had reached death in surrender, could God’s work be complete. It was only in death that He could resurrect. In the same way, we have the guarantee of a glorious resurrection after we die. No matter how difficult the death and the journey to death, we can say ‘it was worth dying to myself; it was worth giving it all to Christ.’
Only in death can we truly live.
He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Phil 2:8-11
My friends, I exhort you to live a life worthy of the Gospel. Live a life of dying to self that you might truly live in Christ.