“Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” - Matthew 16:24-26
The next few days, months, weeks and years God radically transformed my life from religion being a part of my life to my relationship with God being my purpose for living! Daily surrendering my fears, doubts and failures was my primary focus. While celebrating the peace, joy and redemption that flooded into my life, I was fueled by a passion to walk by faith. As a young christian, I was eager to dive into the Bible morning and night. Amazed by the beauty evolving from my growing relationship with God. The redemption that took place was intoxicating.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:13
Despite the miracles God has done in my life, I still struggle through seasons of fear, doubt and complacency. Walking through my daily quiet time as though I were merely eating breakfast, not meeting with The One True King; savior, redeemer and creator.
At times I’m ashamed of how easily I fall into mundane actions, of how I’m distracted by daily life or even ministry related happenings, of how unintentional I can be in my relationships. It doesn’t take long before I notice I’m not loving God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. It’s in those moments I:
You see, surrendering your life to God, following His leadership and living out His love is not only decided in a single moment but is also a daily decision to surrender your all to Him, to dive deep in to His word and to be real.
Start today, set aside some time and space to get real with God. You can do this in an abundance of ways, I like to do some of the following: simply journal prayer, listen to worship music and take a walk, crack open my Bible and pray for God to move. How do you get real with God? Share in the comments below!
“We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” - Hebrews 6:18.
Today we are going to dive into this verse, and surrounding verses in Hebrews to take a closer look at how this set of verses can radically alter our perceptions, give us peace in the storms of life and the strength to move forward after devastating circumstances. Whether you are a survivor of a traumatic event, an abusive relationship or challenging circumstances, I’m right there with you. As a survivor, in my earlier seasons of healing, I always asked myself if the trauma defined me. In fact, when I hit the bottom of the barrel and walk through a powerful storm in life, I still revisit that question. The difference between my earlier years and now is the truth I have readily embraced that nothing defines me but God.
“Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…” - Hebrews 6:20.
The stage is being set here. God is calling out a specific audience, those that have sought refuge in Him. Are you seeking refuge now? Maybe you have walked through losing a job, a loved one or are fighting addiction, seek refuge in Him today! Be encouraged, God is with you, you are not facing your circumstances on your own. Maybe the trauma you experienced was years ago but the aftermath still occasionally rears its head. Your trauma does not define you. However, it will always be part of you, it has helped shape who you are and the way you choose to face (or run from) those circumstances will continually shape you.
Focus on Your Relationship With God
Even when you are angry with Him, it’s okay to be honest about that in prayer. God knows what you’re thinking, let Him in. For “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”-M.L.K. Jr. Take refuge, be encouraged, hold fast! It’s also important to note that the hope is set before you...then begs the question, what is my hope? Jesus has gone before you. Not only is He your savior but He gets what it’s like to walk this earth. He knows the challenges we face on a daily basis. Jesus can completely empathize with your situation. Hold fast to that hope.
No matter what this life has to offer, if you have a relationship with God through the sacrifice Jesus made, you have hope. You are not bound by your past experiences. No trauma will define you, unless you give it that power. Learn from it, grow from it and give it to God through prayer. Rise up and walk in the freedom you have because Jesus has gone before you.
The shackles that once held you captive are removed, the prison cell door is unlocked and open, now it’s up to you. Will you cast your pain, your despair and your fear to God and walk out of the cell you have been bound by? Things will not instantly be perfect and that’s okay. Often times it’s a daily choice to let go of the hurt. Make that choice daily and walk in freedom.