Waking up Saturday morning with nothing on my schedule was thrilling; I could do with the day whatever I wanted. I made plans. The big kids had a morning rehearsal, so Katherine and I could stay home and get to long-neglected yard work, then in the afternoon we could all reward ourselves for our hard work with a trip to the pool! It has been raining so much this summer we have visited the pool only about half a dozen times. Saturday was finally pool weather. Hurray!
Some time in the midst of my work, my husband and I had a conversation about what would happen for the rest of the day. I have to confess that going into this conversation, I was already annoyed that he had not offered to help with the yard. While I had been making plans, he had, too. There was a near-by dam and park he had been wanting to visit and he thought the day was perfect for it.
I had a plan and didn't he appreciate that we paid for the pool pass and we finally had a day we could use it? A good day, even, mostly sunny!
But I am also aware of the Scriptures. Look not only to your own interests, Heather, but to the interests of others. Love is not self-seeking. I knew the right thing to do was to let go of my plan and embrace my husband's. But boy, I sure hate doing the right thing when it means I don't get my way!
Being OPEN last weekend, meant more than simply changing plans, however. Being OPEN meant joyfully changing plans. Would I go to the park with an attitude that communicated to my husband that I thought his plan was dumb and I was only going along with it because I'm a model martyr? Or would I get excited to see a new place together and go joyfully, because, after all, I mainly wanted to have some family time and that desire was being met? I had a conversation with a friend not two days before about the difference between these responses, bitterly enduring a change in plans versus embracing the change and anticipating what the Lord has in store for you instead. God was getting me ready through her words! Thanks, Nancy.
I started writing this post on Tuesday, but never got a chance to finish it for two reasons: 1. I ran out of time and 2. I started getting re-upset about not getting my way on Saturday! We had a great time visiting a new place, even tried a new restaurant for dinner. But thinking about how I had to die a little to self made me start to get hot around the collar again. The Bible talks about putting sin to death; simply trying to disable it isn't enough. But sin dies hard, doesn't it? Sin does not go down without a fight!
This war against self that continues to rage this side of heaven is wearying. The only way we can press on is by remembering passages like Philippians 2:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus! Yes! He is our example, but more, He is our Savior and our Lord. He shows us the extent and extreme to which we are called to put others before ourselves, but more, He rescues us from the very sin that entangles us and transforms us from the inside out to be able to follow His example. Self-lovers can become God- and others-lovers; the Good News for ordinary days.
As we explored Tunnelview Historic Site on Saturday, we strolled under an old train trestle that is dwarfed by a new, modern one, (pictured above). I couldn't help but think, out with the old, in with the new!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Time to take action:
Do you find dying to self as difficult as I do? Meditate on the verses above, on the Lord and His example, sacrifice, provision, and position. And rejoice that if you are in Christ, you are a new creation! The old is not you and you can let go of it. Dying to self is not about martyrdom, but rather about worship, new life, and transformation. Take heart, friend, the Way, the Truth, and the Life is on your side!