If you have been living on this earth long enough, you have probably heard it said that your life is made up of two dates and a dash. In other words, we have a birth date and our date of death, with a dash in between. The question for us is this: how do we make the most of the dash?
Well, the world will tell us to “do you,” or to do what makes you happy above anything else. It is also very popular in our culture to say “YOLO,” meaning “You Only Live Once.” Therefore, do whatever you want. However, as followers of Jesus making the most of the dash should have a distinctly different purpose. It means to die to self and live for God! Our entire life should be worship unto Him. Living to please Him and not our flesh should always be the goal.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23
The Apostle Paul clearly understood this concept when writing to the church of Galatia, he wrote in chapter 2, verse 20:
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Paul was stating that as believers we must put to death our sinful nature and live as a new creation in Christ Jesus. We must surrender our will to that of our Heavenly Father. This is a daily act of obedience. We must make a conscious decision every day to pray and ask the Lord what He would have us to do and where He desires for us to go. Our part is always to listen and obey.
When my Dad passed away on July 18th, we lost a great man of God, someone who loved the Lord and loved others well. He gave generously and sacrificially of himself, his time, talent and treasure regularly. That was his lifestyle. That was who he was. He showed us all how to love like Christ. At his memorial service, prior to giving his eulogy, my oldest sister sang a portion of the song, “I Give Myself Away.” That’s what Daddy did. He gave himself away so the Lord could use him.
How are we making an impact for the Kingdom right where we are? We do not need a special title or profession. We just need to be a willing vessel our Lord can use for His plans and purposes.
Our God is trustworthy. He is faithful to His promises always! He is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One, our Sustainer who provides for all of our needs. Therefore, we can surrender our lives fully to Him, and rest in knowing that He will always take the absolute best care of us and those whom we love.
Following Jesus may not feel like we are basking in sunshine and smelling sweet roses every day. It definitely comes with a cost. However, our Heavenly Father lavishes us with His great love and amazing grace beyond what we can possibly comprehend. More important than our comfort, God wants to develop our character to be more like Him. He desires to give us good things and reward us for our faithfulness. It just may not come packaged the way that we imagined. Our joy is in Him because we Know Whom He is and to Whom we belong, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, the Lifter of our heads and the Lover of our souls. He is worthy of it all. Let’s commit to living for Him!
What do we do with the dash? We love and serve well. That is what Jesus did and He has given us the perfect example.
Jesus told the disciples that as His followers, they must be different from the leaders of that time.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
He died for our sins to give us life, a full, vibrant, flourishing life. Why? Because our Heavenly Father loves us more than our finite minds could ever fathom!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
How can we not live our “Best” life for Him? He gave it all. Every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father (James 1:17). God is the giver of anything and everything that is good. Everything that we have is a gift from God, undeserved. Letting go of anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts frees us to live a life of gratitude, contentment, generosity, love and kindness that points others to Christ.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
Let us give ourselves away so the Lord can use us in any way that He chooses! A life well lived points to Jesus.
Father, we thank You! You are so good! Thank You for loving us beyond anything we can imagine! Thank You for saving us and forgiving us! Thank you for giving us every good and perfect gift in your Son, Jesus! We don’t deserve all that you have done and continue to do for us. Yet, You love us anyway. Help us to die to ourselves daily so that we can live for You. Help us to love well even when it feels difficult so that we can point others to You. Help us to remember why we’re here and Whom we serve. Thank You that this world is not our home. Help us to store up treasures in Heaven and not here on earth. Help us to see the needs all around us and do what we can to meet them. Help us to love and give sacrificially. Help us to give it all away so You can use us! We love You, Lord! We praise Your Holy Name! All these things we ask in the Mighty, Matchless Name of Jesus, Amen and Amen!
By Lanette Black
IWM blogger and Intercessor!