As previously mentioned, Fridays are a time to put the new writing out there. In most cases it’s still unrefined. In other words, don’t mistake this for a finished product, but accept the germinating ideas for what they are and pray for their growth. With that, here’s what I’ve got so far in the way of the introduction. Enjoy, advise, or otherwise….
In some ways, this is meant to be a very practical book. In other ways, though, there are some pretty heavy ideas being… well, laid down. And why not? This is your life we’re talking about. And we’re talking about laying down every piece of it for the glory of God. There’s nothing more important than that. And it’s not easy. In fact, it’s the hardest thing you’ll even have to do. And what’s more, if you do it right, you’ll be doing it every day for the rest of your life.
The idea of laying down our lives for Christ’s sake is both foundational and eternal. It’s how we first come to Jesus, and it’s how Jesus continues to shape our wills in union with His. It is salvation; it is sanctification; and it is the totality of our eternal life in Jesus. Each of our lives move from being of Christ to being “in Christ” (Eph. 4) to where finally our life “is Christ” (Gal. 2:20, Phil. 1:21, 2:12-15, Col. 3:4, 2 Cor. 4:10)
Many equate the idea of laying down with giving up—specifically, with simply ceasing to do something, with being a quitter. In some ways that is accurate, as when God calls us to give up our sins and/or the idols in our lives. But as we venture further with Jesus, laying down becomes less about stopping some activity we’re doing, sinful or otherwise, and more about a different kind of giving-up—the surrendering of everything we do to Christ.
It doesn’t mean we’ll stop doing the things we surrender to Him, but rather that we give up control of the things we do to Jesus, so that He can direct them, so that His will can be done. We don’t stop working, but we make it about “working for the Lord.” We’re still parents and children and spouses, but our priority becomes glorifying God in those relationships rather than pleasing ourselves—or even that spouse or parent or child. We still use our gifts and talents, but to serve God fully and not just for ego fulfilment—even, or maybe especially, in the context of “doing God’s work.” We still receive amazing blessings from God, but we learn to immediately place them back in God’s hands, knowing that even the people and things we love most were given to us for His purposes, and that our joy must rest in that rather than in His gifts.
I realize, even going into this, that by addressing these issues I’m also needing to clear out much of the undergrowth in my own life. It’s my prayer that by doing so, I not only help you clear a path for you as well to begin moving forward more deliberately, but that you might also gain the courage to clear out some of your own undergrowth—and that you in turn might clear the way for and inspire others.