Before leaving Bethany International in April of 2011, Grace and I felt as though we had grown significantly in our walk with the Lord. However, the Lord is gracious to us as His children and leaves no stone in our hearts unturned if we allow Him. Why? Because I believe the Lord knows that the fullness of our salvation has yet to be realized until our bodies are clothed in light/glory and the resurrected Messiah, Jesus, is literally sitting on a throne in Jerusalem.
Prior to beginning this journey with the Lord over a year ago, we generally understood that He was going to begin preparing us as a family for the coming Day of the Lord. Sounds crazy right? We didn’t quite know exactly how we would be prepared and it came in many forms and facets. But one thing is for sure, we realized that having our world shaken in a consistent and steady way sure does crucify the flesh and reveals God’s love and mercy better than any other avenue we have experienced. Our hope is that when everything that can be shaken begins to get shaken, that we can actually be a living witness of the Messiah rather than retreating to self-soaked wickedness that has never been tested by fire and philosophizes away what it means to be a disciple of the living God.
All the philosophizing that had once seemed so all consuming and authoritative to our belief system paled in comparison to the actual demonstration and interaction with the living God and His Word through all our little trials these past months.
We all face trials of many kinds throughout our life and I have concluded that consistent or intense hardship exposes the true intents of the heart to a level that cannot be denied in that specific individual. We either choose the narrow path or the broad in those moments and seasons.
When all control is taken from us, what kind of person will we be? Would we triumph over sin and love well? What choices would we make if sin was revealed and love was growing cold? What if confession of the revealed sin left you barren of all you had gained in the eyes of men?
We as a family truly believe that as time rolls forward that the pressures of this life/age will only increase. And we as a family said something to the Lord not long after April of 2011. We asked God to sift us and shake us now from anything that would hinder His leadership in our lives, in order that we might not be shaken away from Him later when the pressures cannot be avoided. Right now we choose to rely on the Lord in everyday life and desire to follow His Spirit’s leadership, even if it is unto hardship because we simply believe that the Day of the Lord is very real and coming soon.
Yes, I know, very fatalistic. :) Nonetheless, I want to live according to what I understand the Word of God to be saying. And the Spirit has personally made some things clear enough to me and our family that it has significantly shifted how we do life.
We are not living our lives unto retirement. We are not living our lives for the purpose of settling down so we can become “a real family” (though there might be times where we are settled). We are not living our lives so that we can rejoice in all that we have accomplished (though we hope to live as fools for the Messiah and accomplish much for His sake). We are not living our lives so that we can access as many comforts as possible (though there are times where the Lord provides some).
We are living our lives to follow the Spirit and be pleasing in the sight of the Lord on the Day He returns.
We have been gripped that the Spirit led Jesus to the cross as a pattern for all who would follow Him, so that all who follow Him might have the same ending…resurrection unto life.
Are we willing to suffer in this age if we know it will save our life in the next age? Hate this life? Lose this life? I know there is all kinds of philosophizing that can be done around what all that means, but let us first ask the risen Messiah and see what it means to Him.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27