My husband and I have passed 65 years of age. Sometimes I have wondered if we will remain challenged to follow Jesus right up to our last breath. At times in life there seems not to be enough impetus to go on with Him. Other times we cannot possibly cling to Him more! So what will keep you going? I recently read several items that sparked this rumination in my head. Hope this gives you pause and then spurs you on to follow hard after the King of Kings.
If we hope to surrender ourselves fully to God, we must be willing to let go of everything. You may remember that in Matthew 10:37-39 Jesus said, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Can you turn loose of those family ties and seemingly all important possessions in your life to embrace Him first and foremost?
Often meditative prayer is thought of as losing everything for the sake of Christ. Through practice we learn gradually to let go of plans and ego and thoughts and even our own will. We learn to sit in silence, opening our heart and mind to Christ Jesus in whatever way the Holy Spirit would like to express His holy character. Sometimes there is not an insight or Scripture given. It is enough of an accomplishment to quiet the mind for 15 minutes. Later the benefit of spending this time in centering prayer and quiet rest shows in more patience or sudden joy or just an overall calmer approach to the day.
John Main, O.S.B., writing in his book “The Heart of Creation” says, “We can only become fully present to the now of this moment if we can leave the past behind.
What we try to do instead is to maintain observation points, base camps, along every stage of our growth.
At each of these observation points we are loath to let go of any part of ourselves in favor of the new stage of growth. It becomes simpler, and even easier, if we recognize that it is not part of ourselves we need to be concerned about leaving, but our whole self. If we refuse this, opting instead for piecemeal surrenders, then instead of life being an experience of growth we find our lives contracting.”
Observation point and base camp, but too difficult to illustrate piecemeal surrender!
Surrender, relinquishment, turning our sinful, sick self over to Him for transformation and transfiguration. Loosing our hold on life and letting Him have all parts of us. Cherishing and taking up our cross may often mean paying more and more attention to God and letting the rest of the world go past. What if instead of building those ‘base camps and observation posts’ at every stage of our growth, we would choose to just grow beyond that place? A great adventurer does not constantly look back along the path traveled, but forward to what lies beyond the next bend.
Oswald Chambers wrote ”There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.” Chambers also said that after you surrender, your entire life should be characterized by an eagerness to maintain unbroken fellowship and oneness with God. Regardless of the challenge of any church program, on-line study course, depth or aridity of small group discussions, we must pursue the Lord of Lords with all of our heart. To do that I have found that the fewer distractions I carry with me the better my pursuit of and fellowship with Christ. I want to follow on to know the Lord and be aware of His mercy right to the end.
William Martin wrote:
“Life is always too short.
We will never be able to see everything we wanted to see,
do all the things we wanted to do,
or achieve all the successes we thought so important,
But to arrive at a quiet mind,
and a serene spirit,
is the supreme accomplishment.
If we do this,
we have done all.”
A quiet mind, a serene spirit, a resilient attitude towards life so that no matter what changes and chances come our way so we can adapt and go on with Christ.
Oh, the challenge is glorious and I, for one, intend to follow Him along the narrow road and through the small gate until I come to eternity with the Trinity.