Day 3…

As I read through today’s Draw The Circle devotional, Mark Batterson talked about consecration. Consecration, as he put it, is death of self. It is a lifelong journey of surrender in total dedication to God. It is the process of not holding anything back from God.

As Batterson puts it:

“I know there is a fear that if we give more of ourselves to God, there will be less of us less, but it’s the exact opposite. It’s not until we die to ourself that we truly come alive. The more we give to God, the more we have and the more we become. It’s only in losing our lives that we truly find them.”

He tells of great men God like Dwight L. Moody and Jonathan Edwards who, when fully dedicated to the Lord, did amazing things for God during their lives. He tells the story found in Joshua where the Lord tells the Israelites to “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5) They did; and the Lord did: He parted the Jordan River and crossed on dry ground.

But I found myself bristling against some of what he said. For instance, the very last sentence of today’s devotional reads:

“If we give more of ourselves to God, God will give more of Himself to us.”

God gave all of Himself when He gave His one and only son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) How much more can He give!?! It also sounds like a formula for performance. The more we give = the more we get. There’s something about that which is true. But there’s something that’s not quite right, too.

What about those that struggle? You and I have issues. Face it. We do. We all are sinners. Each day. Every day. I am desperately in need of God and His grace. With the formula above, I could easily believe that if I fail at giving God my all today, or if I give something to him one day in complete surrender and then take it back the next day, I’m a complete loser and a total failure. There are thousands of folks walking around believing that today. Thousands.

Because Jesus succeeded, we can fail.
Because Jesus surrendered, I can fall short in my surrender and not feel like a loser.
Because Jesus won, I’m free to lose.

When I fully grasp the freedom found in Jesus and what was accomplished on the Cross, I am humbly compelled to live my live wholly and completely for God. It’s isn’t a matter of me willingly surrendering. It’s not a matter of the will. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus… and surrender just happens.

Yes, it is still a process. But, for me, it is not a process of surrender, it is a process of fully realizing the love God has for me in Christ Jesus. As I fully comprehend this complete, satisfying, all-encompassing love that heals all wounds and fills all voids, I find myself more and more completely consumed by His love… and more and more completely in love with Him.

I become more and more completely His. If that’s being consecrated, then so be it.

“I’m a Recovering Fundamentalist”

I love Mark Lowry. He is so funny. You can go from laughing to the point of tears to crying real tears in a nano-second. You may do the same watching the video at the link here:

He says, “I’m a recovering fundementalist.” I can relate. In fact, many people would call me a liberal. But there are so many political, social, or moral issues that we, as Jesus-followers, get caught up in that actually hurt the cause of Christ. All the while, we have a plank of wood in our own eye, as Jesus might put it.

Perhaps my favorite quote from the video is:

“We say, ‘Love the sinner and hate the sin.’ But I think it ahould be this: , ‘Love the sinner and hate your own sin.’ I’ll hate my sin, you hate your sin, and let’s love each other.”

We are so forgetful. We have amnesia. We forget how we used to be and what Christ saved us from. And here’s a News Flash: We haven’t “arrived” yet. Many of us still struggle with the same things we struggled with before we came to know Jesus: anger, lust, gossip, laziness, foul language… the list goes on. These are still part of our lifestyle. Yet we’re quick to point out how sinful someone else’s lifestyle is. I know because I do it, too.

It’s a long video. 10 minutes. You should watch it. Actually, you don’t need to watch it. You can just listen to it on your phone as you go down the road on the way to work.

Maybe you can’t afford to take the time. But maybe you can’t afford not to.