1 Peter 4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. So Christ tells us in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." But we immediately ask ourselves, what does He mean? Does He mean pick up two pieces of wood nailed together, tell people my name is not Lesley, and hike up a mountain? It`s for you to answer.
For various reasons Christ has opened the door for me to walk into a season of sabbath. Sabbath from school, sabbath from a job, sabbath from community, and sabbath from loved ones. At first I really didn`t know He was asking me to do it, I basically felt forced to. And sometimes I still do. But today it dawned on me that this is something he asks of my everyday life.
Christ says, Lesley deny all that stuff that defines you. I am a student there and I work here and I am on this leadership team and I do this during my free-time. Deny all your earthly labels...take up the suffering, the hurt, the pain, the rejection, the self-hatred, the insecurity...and follow me... follow me into death and then into life. See Christ didn`t just go up a mountain and die. Three days later, he was resurrected. And today, He reigns.
For me sabbath isn`t something I have to do everyday, but rather something I need to do every time my priorities and passions get so twisted that I am in fact not denying myself, not taking up my cross, and not following Jesus.
So this verse in 1 Peter 4 is truly a means to my heart`s contentment with Christ and also a plea to understanding the will of God over my life. I pray through the next 8 weeks specifically that Christ will reveal himself anew in my life through contentment and direction in Him alone. And so I begin, arming myself with the same exact thoughts of Christ, and pray for His work to be done in my heart and my life such that He changes me from the inside out, renewing my love for Him and revealing His love over me.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26