It is much easier to take a bullet than to offer yourself to a slow and agonizing death for another person. Offering your life to a difficult situation? One that could take years… maybe even decades for someone who doesn’t give a rip??? Surely God doesn’t expect that?!
I’ve said it before when faced with panic and fear all around you, ‘It’s easy. Be willing to die at a moment’s notice’. The answer to living in quiet confidence in dire circumstances is to understand the sovereignty of God and have firm assurance that you are His. Then it literally doesn’t matter what happens to you. You’re good. You’re just one second away from GLORY. No problem.
But what about that life that Jesus calls us to all day every day with the pile of people we encounter. Those people who will come and go and not really care about your sacrifice & all of your ‘counting the cost’ and all that… You are in the spiritual school of laying your life down in a slow and agonizing death the way that Christ did, and modeled for us to do. Can we rest in God’s sovereignty in those circumstances, too? Of course we can. We NEED to. Can joy be found in this way of living??? Of course it can. True JOY is only found in humble obedience. (Not talking about choosing to stay in an abusive situation! If someone is in physical danger, a loving response will look very different than if some is just in an ‘unhappy’ situation!)
It is so much harder to invite the difficult offering of yourself for those who won’t acknowledge it for the beautiful following of the spiritual model of Christ that it is. So much harder to live out the raw sacrificial Christian faith as opposed to dressing up to talk and sing about it on Sunday mornings.
I’ve had so many people say over the years, ‘You mean, I’m supposed to be a doormat?!’… Ummm, you’re only a doormat if you don’t offer yourself. You’re a welcome mat until you allow others to choose your actions. But if the Spirit is in control it remains a welcome mat that just looks like a doormat from the world’s vantage point. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, enemy, child, coworker, or just a random guy on the street… it can be so hard to be willing to be Jesus to these people over and over again until we die. But remember, let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Remember to be like Christ. Remember to die slowly for others no matter how long it takes, not just be willing to take a bullet for them.
You get to choose. This life in Christ allows you to choose of your own free will whether you will lay down your life like Christ did for another person or whether you will demand your rights and pull your welcome mat inside and shut the light out so everyone knows you’re not accepting visitors anymore.
Think about Jesus who endured from sinners so much hostility against himself, and don’t grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle in saying no to you and yes to others, you have not yet resisted to the point of having to suffer enough to pay for the sin of the world. You aren’t that bad off yet… you are called to keep going until you reach the limit of what Jesus suffered for your sin. Hebrews 12:3,4 TSPB – The Shannon Paraphrased Bible 😉
Looks like we’re in this whole ‘welcome mat’ thing for quite some time, eh? Until we meet Christ face to face we are called to just keep plugging away shaking out our welcome mats and making sure the front door is ready and waiting for more company. Even the same old company that keeps making messes on our doorsteps, over, and over, and over…
We’re all dying. But every day we are in the Lord’s training to learn how to die well. We are learning how to die a slow death for Christ’s sake.
Jesus always keeps His welcome mat out. Always. And I am SO THANKFUL for those in my life that have been Jesus to me over the years, keeping the door open, full of grace. May the Church rise up as an offering for each other and live like their Forerunner! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻