I am going to be cutting back a little on how much blogging I do (not that I have done very much over the Summer anyway!) because I am taking a bigger role in the worship ministry at our church for the coming year. That means that something has to give! However I do want to continue sharing what God teaches me on here when I have time and something to say!
This is what I have been challenged about over the last few days. We often talk of sacrifice and becoming like Christ. But do we really think about what that means for us in our own lives? Jesus said that if we want to follow Him we should deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9v23). So there must be opportunities in our daily lives to do that: to deny ourselves and suffer for His sake.
Even in the mundane of every day life we can find fellowship with Christ in His suffering. The other day I was reading in a devotional book that was recommended by Elisabeth Elliot: 'Daily Strength for Daily Needs', about what it means to drink from Christ's cup, and it was incredibly challenging:
'There is many a Christian who feels the irksomeness of the duties of life, and feels his spirit revolting from them. To get up every morning with the firm resolve to find pleasure in those duties, and to do them well, and finish the work which God has given us to do, that is to drink Christ's cup. The humblest occupation has in it materials of discipline for the highest heaven'
God is increasingly teaching me that those tiny little decisions that we make all through the day are important to Him. Even in a job like being a stay at home mother where we are virtually unseen by anyone other than our children. And that's because God sees our heart, and we can choose to please Him or ourselves.
- When I feel like getting mad, I can choose patience
- When I feel discontent, I can choose to be joyful and thankful regardless of my circumstances
- When I feel like eating food for comfort, I can choose self-control and go to God for comfort instead
- When I am thinking about someone who hurt me, I can choose to forgive
- When I am wondering what someone's motives were, I can choose to hope the best
- When someone does something to irritate me, I can choose to bear all things and love them anyway
- When I get up in the morning and drag my feet, I can choose to do all that I do for God, the best I can, no matter how I feel
And of course in all these choices, it is very hard to do that by ourselves. We need Christ's strength, so we have to pray throughout our day to ask for His help. I remember reading what Amy Carmichael said once, that she would continually ask Christ to fill her with 'His peace', 'His joy'.
We have the opportunity, especially in jobs that are not very enjoyable and days that are hard, to practice and grow in the fruit of the Spirit. But to do that we have to consciously depend on God.
Drinking from Christ's cup, and taking up our cross to follow Him, is not just to endure hardship, but to respond rightly while we are going through it, just as He did. And that includes all the little things, starting with our attitude in getting out of bed in the morning!
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself
and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Linking up to Finding Heaven and What Joy is Mine