November 16, 2019
Today is my 68th birthday. As I approached my daily reading through the Bible this morning, I began by asking God to speak to me directly about something I needed to hear on this particular day—a message straight from His heart to mine for this coming year. Here is the passage that arrested my attention on this very personal day.
WHERE CHRIST WENT … AND WHY.
The Son of God was willing to go to the hardest, most misunderstood place. He went, with His cross, to die outside the city. It was a place of refuse (literally, the city dump). It was the most dishonorable environment in the city. But He went there for a purpose: to take the place of sacrifice, suffering, and self-denial so that, in so doing, it would bring life to others.
And, it worked. His self-denial set countless millions free!
But that is not the end of the story. Because of His glad surrender, the Father honored and resurrected Him and “gave Him the name that is above every other name.” He raised Christ to the place of greatest splendor, for His was the path of greatest suffering. God always rewards the best to those who follow Him most fully.
WHERE I MUST GO … AND WHY.
My calling—in whatever days I have left—is to join Him there. It is just that simple.
I must continue to follow Christ, regardless of the places it might take me or the sacrifice it might cost me. For His way is the way that leads to life and fruitfulness. Even though I am in the last third of my life, it is not a moment to seek ease, comfort, or self-glory. The greatest thing I can do to help my children and grandchildren and future generations; the most effective way I can bring life to other people, is to simply, faithfully follow Jesus each common day, even if that takes me through valleys of greater surrender or suffering. For death to self always births life to others.
Along the way, I must joyfully, thankfully remember this: I am not living for this world. I don’t need the world’s possessions, honor, adulation, blessing; its comforts or pleasures. This world and all it might give me is temporary, but I must “seek the city which is to come.” In that place, every step I have taken following Christ will be rewarded. And, that reward and that place will last forever!
Even if some of the coming days are hard, I should never complain, vainly trying to convince those around me how much I might be suffering or how “noble” I am. Every step is a privileged journey with the Risen Christ! I should be the most visibly and vocally grateful person possible, continually offering up a “sacrifice of praise to God.” My gracious God has blessed me with the honor of living this life with His Son and joining Him in the glorious life to come!
That’s God’s Word for me this year! I wonder what God’s Word is for you?
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