The past few days, the Lord has been reminding me of previous seasons in my life - times with Him on missions to Hernhutt, Germany where I would get up hours before everyone else just to sing to Him and spend time with Him, seasons of radical sacrifice where I would choose to surrender the things I held so tightly to just because I wanted Him so much more, days where everyone would be doing "fun" things together but the only thing I wanted to do was be in the furnace prayer room with Him from sun up to sun down, and even times where I would just continually keep my head phones on because I never wanted to break that conversation with Him. As I was reminiscing on these moments with Jesus, so precious that no story can give it any justice, my heart broke at the present reality of my heart in Him. Oh, how far my heart has fallen from the romance with that Man.
How easily do we forget what this is all about, Jesus? That You are a real Man, a real Man that feels, that thinks, that longs for us, that wants to talk with us, and do life with us. I want history with You, Jesus. Memories of times together, that when we meet on that day the stories I have with you are far more in number and so much nearer to my mind and heart than stories I had with others. Jesus, that I would have spent more of my life talking to You than I did wasting my words before others. Jesus, let me WASTE my life upon You.
What if we all really lived like that again? What if we really wasted our life on Him, on that real Man who is as near today as He was then. We so easily say we will die for Him, but then why aren't we willing to truly LIVE for Him, to actually lay down our every bit of LIFE for the sake of that Man whom we love. In Philippians 1:13, Paul the apostle said, "I am in CHAINS for Christ." What would that tangibly look like to live in CHAINS, everyday for Christ? That every moment, every breath, every thought, every decision TRULY was for Jesus, for His purposes, to know Him and to make Him known?
Let us think about what our words would look like in chains. Do you know that we have to give account for EVERY IDLE WORD that we speak (Matthew 12:36)? That really means every word that is spoken that is not to Jesus, isn't edifying others and pushing them into Jesus, or isn't sharing the Gospel, He is going to have a real conversation about those words with you. All the worthless chatter, the joking, the sarcasm, none of it is helpful or has a purpose. We just talk to talk but yet we have to stand before Him and give account for it on that day. He has ENTRUSTED us with a voice and the ability to speak. Why did He give you a voice? For His glory alone. Oh, that my words would be few & full, that Jesus would be glorified through every Word I speak. And I can't even stand to think of the pain in His heart that I talk all day to people, just talking for the sake of talking for hours and hours each day, and if you add up those hours and compare them to the hours I am actually dialoging with Him, how can I live with that? To know that that Man whom I say I love more than life, I talk to LESS than all the others? I can't live knowing that. I don't want to just talk ABOUT Him, I want to talk TO Him. It is available every moment, every day, why would I not draw on all that is available to me?
What about in chains for Christ with our time. I remember there was a time in my life, if what I was doing didn't have very specific PURPOSE, meaning it was either WITH Jesus or FOR Jesus, I was not doing it. But I look at my life now, and even the things I am doing for Him, it doesn't even feel like I am doing it for Him. We so easily get in this routine of life, just going through the motions. Also, it is so easy to fall into this perpetual hang out mode, where we can put it under the banner of "fellowship" where you get together with your friends that love Jesus and whatever you do, it doesn't really matter cause its "fellowship" time, but no one was actually spurred on to love Jesus more, Jesus was not exalted, the Kingdom was not advanced, and everyone leaves actually worse off because they just wasted hours of your life that you can never get back and will burn before the eyes of fire. That is a scary thought. Time is LIFE, the way you spend your time is how you spend your LIFE. God gives everyone the same amount of hours in each day, and what you choose to do in those hours is ultimately what you choose to do with your life. This life is a gift, it is a stewardship that He has given us, and I actually want Him to be the Lord of every moment He entrusts to me in this life for His purposes.
A few years ago while still in Desperation Leadership Academy at New Life Church, I was asked if they could use me and my story at Desperation Conference in a skit to portray one of our four core values, Consecration. I actually didn't really fully know what that even meant at the time, and so was surprised that they asked me! I found that consecration is to separate from things and to separate unto things; basically laying aside the things of this world for the greater pleasure of feasting on God. (See Gal 5:25, Rom 6:6; 12:2, Mic 6:8, & Phil 4:8 for Scripture references) I truly did live a life that was so consecrated - constantly waging war on anything that kept me from being with or being like Jesus, and gave every ounce of my being to be fully His. And it was all out of pure JOY. I never felt like I had to be really dedicated and tough it out to get rid of everything in order to please God. Rather, I was so in love with this Man who saved me that nothing in this world mattered to me anymore. I truly just wanted Him.
Things sadly look a little different now, and the Lord has had a reason for every season that has transpired since then and He has taught me so much that in His perfect leadership He knew I needed, but I feel another shift in the seasons. It truly is the kindness of the Lord, to starve us out of that which we THINK will bring us pleasure and remind us that it still doesn't compare to what we find in Him. He reminds you of what really matters when it is all said and done, and escorts you back into the burning flame of His Love.
John the Baptist is such a beautiful example of consecration. A man who lived in the wilderness of Judea as soon as he was able to leave his parents, and literally lived a LIFE of prayer, study of the Word, and fasting. He CHOSE to be fully separated from the comforts of the day, wearing camel's hair and eating nothing but locusts and honey. And he counted it all JOY, to give up the things of the world in order to hear the voice of His Bridegroom. And in order for us to actually HEAR the voice of our Beloved, to ever think we can be a voice that can speak on His behalf, it will require this same amount of radical separation from ALL that hinders love and communion with that man.
But it is costly. Anything that is actually worth something is going to come at a high price. In 1 Chronicles 21:24, King David was trying to but a piece of land from a man who insisted on giving it to his king for free, but King David replied, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for theLord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” Consecration is costly, but when you signed up to follow Jesus, you knew that it would be costly. It would cost you your life. And as He laid His down for us, so should we lay down our life for the One that we love. To waste our life at His feet, but not just for mere sacrifice, for the GREATER PLEASURE found in the communion and love of that Man, Jesus. It truly is the Great Exchange, and the reward far outweighs all that we sacrifice, and we would do good to "count ALL things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord... and count them as RUBBISH that I may gain Christ."
To know You, Jesus, and the sweetness of communion with You, the unceasing fellowship with the only Love my heart needs, let that be my one desire. To live this life WITH You. You are the Treasure, You are the end goal. Oh that I could live a life of purpose, for the sake of knowing You. No greater thing than this, to live in fellowship with You. Let me love you with as much as You will allow on this side of eternity. A life WASTED on the only thing necessary.