Dying Is Hard To Do

There is within man an innate instinct for survival. When life is threatened, we do whatever is necessary for self-preservation. Science calls this the fight or flight response. Whichever method we employ, we do so with the sincere belief that it is the best option for our survival.

Photo by Andre Bohrer

I find myself employing the same self-preservation tactics even as I attempt to lay down my own life on an altar and die. My flesh resists. I continually fight or constantly run. I fight against the death of my flesh even though it is my desire to lay it down that my LORD may live through me.

Why is it that I lay my life: my problems, my fears, and my sins on the altar only to find them clenched in my firm grip once again?

Because dying is hard to do.

The Spirit in me knows this flesh must die but my flesh is fighting for its life, fighting for its desires. This battle between flesh and Spirit is constantly raging. Paul described to us the difficulty of dying by telling us that it is something he had to do on a daily basis.

I die daily. – 1 Corinthians 15:31

Wow! If Paul, the great apostle and writer of much of the New Testament, if this Paul had to crucify his flesh afresh on a daily basis, then dying must be hard to do.

So here I am at the altar. Before I had hoped that I would crucify this flesh and the battle would be over; but it wasn’t so. My flesh is fighting for survival and the Spirit in me is fighting for Life. Once again, I am laying it all on the altar. I am dying to my will, my selfish ambitions.

I will do it again tomorrow. Because dying is hard to do.

But I am finding that it is possible. And, oh, the joy I find when I am crucified with Christ!

His Spot Is Never Empty

I am writing this a few hours after our Sunday worship service.  I must admit that today’s service was a struggle for me.  I could sense a deep longing in my spirit for the presence of God but my flesh was not cooperating.  Even though I had plenty of rest, I was tired, my head felt cloudy, and I was having a hard time focusing on the Lord.  I don’t want to over analyze this situation, there are a lot of possible explanations for why this battle was going on.  The simple fact is that it was going on, and it often does for many of us.

It did remind me of a simple truth, and that is what I wish to focus this post on.  That truth is the fact that God is always present (he is omnipresent) and He is always desiring to work and move in our lives.  Whether or not He does is up to us.

We often say or hear others say, “God really showed up today!”  or “What a great move of God we had today!”  When the truth of the matter is, God is there everyday.  We simply don’t recognize it because we allow our flesh to win the battle.  If there was a great move of His presence, it was because His children (at least one) moved and tapped into the Spirit of God that was always there.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of picture that I saw in a Father’s Day art project.

I am so glad to know that His spot is never empty.  He is always there.  Even when I don’t feel Him.  Even when I don’t feel after Him.

And so I am thankful for the battle that happened inside of me today.  My flesh didn’t feel like it, but my spirit was crying out for the Lord.  And when the battle was over, Jesus was where He always been – right beside me.