“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
It’s 3:05 pm, and I just got a wake-up call. I’m in a hotel as usual, out on the road full-time for ministry, but I didn’t get that kind of wake-up call. And I’ve actually been up for hours and hours since I tend to get up super early. I got a Holy Spirit wake-up call. A healthy loving albeit hard combination of conviction with a powerful message. Here’s what He showed me.
I’ve been WALKING IN FEAR for all of the day thus far. Not WALKING BY FAITH. Not WALKING IN LOVE. God desires His children to WALK BY FAITH IN LOVE. I have done almost none of that today. I have been so wracked with fear I didn’t even realize it. Consumed with it. Hurrying scurrying through the day filled with worry. Doubt. Unbelief. The details don’t matter. This is what matters. Greatly.
When we have days like I have had today, when our hearts are filled with fear and worry and doubt and unbelief, or with any other sins like pride, bitterness, hurt, vengeance, hatred, etc., and we do not repent of it before God but hold onto it and live our lives in response to our flesh instead of in response to God and His Word, WE ARE TURNED INWARD. WE ARE FOCUSED ON SELF. And guess who LOVES when we are focused INWARD?!
THE DEVIL LOVES WHEN WE ARE TURNED INWARD. Why? Because God’s primary purpose for us on this earth is to LOVE HIM WITH ALL OUR HEARTS (to be turned UPWARD) and to love others as ourselves and help them believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and forever faithfully follow Him (OUTWARD).
When God gave me my wake-up call today, I knew two things.
1. I needed to repent.
2. I needed to TURN UPWARD TO HIM and to TURN OUTWARD TO OTHERS so I can be used by the Lord to love and glorify Him and help others to find and follow Him.
So long as the devil can convince us to stay focused INWARD on SELF, we go against what Christ calls His followers to do. TO DENY SELF. TO TAKE UP OUR CROSSES. TO FOLLOW HIM. This is all about UPWARD and OUTWARD. NOT INWARD!
I thank God for His ongoing chastening, for how He leads me continually to repentance and is merciful to me and teaches me day by day breath by breath how to TURN UPWARD AND OUTWARD that I might live to bring glory to His name.
I had no intention of being consumed with self today. I couldn’t even see it! But the more I focused on what filled my heart, i.e. the fear and worry, the more consumed I became with self. Now my gaze is back upon the Lord and His will for my life. First and foremost, to love and glorify Him forevermore!
The Lord has the same purpose for your life, friend. To love and glorify Him through repentance and faith in Jesus as Lord. But when you are consumed with self as I was today, then you are turned inward. If you find yourself that way now, and in the future, there’s only one right way to respond. REPENT AND TURN UPWARD then OUTWARD to love and bless and give to and help and support and encourage a world in dire need of Jesus in His love for God’s forever glory. HALLELUJAH!