10 Steps: How to Die to This Life

Then he said to them all:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow meFor whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save itWhat good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very selfWhoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26

With a new year here, and fresh beginnings in the air, I've spent a good time in prayer asking the Lord for a plan for this New Year. A direction and path... a purpose. I've been wracked with the notion that my life is truly my own.  Not to say that I don't have loved ones who deeply impact my schedule and preferences, but the truth of the matter is that: in the end, I'm living for me. I'm also living for my husband, and my children... but I'm LIVING for me.

Yes, I serve in my home, my community and much church. But that's not my point, truthfully. What I'm saying is that I'm still doing it all for me.

Deep down inside, no matter how much I preach to myself, I still have ulterior motives and selfish motivations. Pride, self-glorification, checking boxes off a list... 

And if we are all really honest, I think we can all admit to not always being motivated by Christian love when we serve. Oftentimes, the motivation comes from external praise rather than Holy Spirit promptings. 

So, I ask myself: Am I doing enough? Am I living sacrificially (and not for external praise but because the Holy Spirit prompts me so urgently that I can't turn away)? And I'm shaken to the depth of my core with the notion, with the gut-wrenching knowing, that I'm NOT.

See, I've been wrecked lately by the thought of this Esther Generation. This generation of women who are seeking after Christ with reckless abandon. Who are willing to live sacrificially and always seeking to do more because they just can't shake the feeling that there's always more healing to bring, love to share and wounds to bind. 

We want to be, do, BLEED Godliness

.

We also have a heart for "the least of these"... as we should. As we are called to. This Esther Generation is called such because we live a life of luxury... and I don't mean those with a six-figure income. I mean, if you're reading this right now, you are among the most affluent in the world. WE are in the palace. We are behind the walls, peering over from a safe distance- saying "look at those people. They need help!!! Babies are murdered and starve to death, girls are kidnapped and sex-trafficked, women dig through dumps to feed their children, children's throats are slit while they sleep."

We can SEE them,

FEEL them

, from atop this fortress. And we fervently believe we have been put HERE for such a time as this. A time when a fervor of passionate, God-fearing, God-seeking, God-bleeding women and men come together behind the gates and say- "This can't be it! We can't just sit here and pretend like that's not there! What would Jesus do for Pete's sake!"

He walked among and loved on and healed the lepers. We all KNOW what He would do. He'd pick up that cross and He would tote it. He would lose HIS LIFE to save just one. We are called to pick up our cross and follow Him- to do as He did. We are called to lose our lives.

And with this fever pitch of New Year's resolutions, and seeking for simplicity-- and a burning urge to tear down the palace walls- this is such a time.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. {Luke 12:48}

But what does it look like? What does this Esther Generation have to do on a daily basis? How do you lay down a life?

How do you DIE to this world and it's stuff and big houses and the next vacation?

How do you let it all go and balance it all? How do you serve your family and help to save the broken and helpless and orphaned and sick?

One day at a time. One moment at a time. One life at a time. If you're like me, you feel a pressing urgency. You want to do something BIG RIGHT NOW. You want to fix it, bring all the babies home with you and give everyone in the world some Jesus- then it will all be alright.

But we can't. We can't fix "it" because "it" is a broken-down, sinful, shameful, selfish, evil world.

But it's broken and evil and sinful in such a way that it CAN all glorify Him.

You see

that's

the purpose {of life} and the burning need- to glorify Him.

One day at a time, one moment at a time, one life at a time.

If it was all rainbows and skittles and unicorns, who would need a god? But our world is not that.

It desperately needs a God... a living, redeeming, saving, grace-filled, merciful God that would lay down and die for you. And in order to follow Him, we have to lay down and die.

One day, one moment and one life at a time.

We have to give up, get out and bleed grace.

We have to overflow out of this palace into the world- with our time, our words, our money, our passion. One day, one moment, one life at a time.

We've been put here for such a time as this. A time when there couldn't be a greater chasm between how rich we are and how rich they aren't. And the thing about it is, we no longer have to get on a ship and become lifelong missionaries in order to touch people thousands of miles away. We have the Internet, airplanes, mail... we have riches, we have education, and we have technology in our palace.

God has created a burning desire in our souls to reach out and touch His children in this world, and He's given us every tool imaginable to do it.

So when it comes down to it- how do we die to this life? We must DENY ourselves. We must take up our cross and follow Him. We must deny ourselves conveniences, or plenty of sleep or new shoes. We must take up our cross- which for us means do the really hard stuff, risk persecution and judgement and loss of life {this life}... and Follow Him.

Do what He did. Act like He did. Love like He did. That's the recipe- the recipe for the Esther Generation to follow.

Denial+Crossbearing*(Daily)=Following

So what can this look like for me? For you? How can we "prosper" in this? Proverbs 11:25 says The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

So how can we be the generation that swings this around? That denies this life and digs deeper? Who doesn't buy into the more-is-better mentality... and decides that a child eating is more important than a new pair of shoes?

1.

Prayer

. A whole lot of it. In all times, in all situations, prayer.

2.

God's word

. Daily. Pouring and praying it deep into your soul- passionately pleading with Him to CHANGE YOU.

3.

Give it up

. Start small- the Starbucks. The weekly dinner out after church. The new purse each season. #preachingtomyself

4.

Look for opportunities

to give in a way that rebukes the enemy's attempts on your life. A/C tear up? Send money to provide for a coat for a child in Ukraine. We had a round with lice lately- so we sent funds to provide for the treatment of parasites for 25 children in impoverished nations. Let him know that every time he comes attempting to confuse or distract you, that you'll do good to spite him.

5.

Sponsor a child

through

www.Compassion.com

or

www.Amazima.org

Amazima is an organization founded by Katie Davis 

www.kissesfromKatie.com

She is a phenomenal inspiration (and

her book

is an absolute must read)- following the Lord's call on her life to move to Uganda and adopt 12? daughters... at the age of 18.

6.

Read

Seven by Jen Hatmaker

and be inspired about how to do more for less, so that others can have more.

7.

Let go of the fear of being radical

...do whatever the Holy Spirit urges you to do- at all times and in all circumstances. Don't question, don't doubt, just obey.

8.

Adopt a child

. Or, help fund someone else's adoption. There's Jesus-freaks everywhere, traveling the world, bringing babies home. They need your prayers and your money.

9.

Be healthy

. Take care of yourself. Eat well. You can NOT be the body of Christ, the hands and feet of our Lord, if you are sick, tired, grumpy and unwell.

10. Take it one day at a time- one moment at a time- so that you can help one life at a time.

Blessings sweet friends! xoxo