Saturday, July 4, 2009

Am I Ready to Lose my Life?

A few years ago I spent some time wrestling with the idea of becoming "less" so that Jesus might become "more." After meditating on John 3:30, which says, "He must become greater; I must become less," I was convicted through prayer that this was God's call on my life. I began to look for ways to decrease so that God could increase in my life.

At first there were some material changes--clothes were donated to Goodwill, old toys were passed on to younger children, and my shopping instinct began to wane. "Less is more" was my motto.

Eventually the changes moved to my behavior--where I would once launch into long lectures with my sons, I began biting my tongue and trusting the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. I saw such fruit from this little effort in both MY life AND theirs. I was greatly encouaged.

Finally, I found the Lord working out changes in my heart--where I once only thought of my own hopes and desires, I began to seek out His. This was remarkably freeing and genuinely revolutionary to the way I thought and prayed.

I thought I mastered "becoming less." But through the teaching I have received at CIT, I am coming to realize that "less is more" is not enough. My new motto, though I shudder to embrace it, is "nothing is everything."

In my whole process of "decreasing" I probably became 10% less Jenn. Not bad. Way to go. That means Jesus gained a whole 10% of the real estate in my heart. The problem is, it is barely a drop in the bucket. In fact, giving Him everything still doesn't go far enough. He doesn't want my everything...He wants my NOTHING-NESS.

The real truth is found in those verses that I have recited for years, but never really grasped:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself NOTHING. Phil. 2:5-7

For we who are alive are always being given over to DEATH for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. II Cor. 4:11

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matt. 16:24-25

I could go on and on. And do not think that I have come to this place lightly. I know that I cannot fully grasp what it all means; yet, I want it. I am standing at the edge of myself, pondering what it would take to abandon all that I am for Him:

  • Will I deny my preferences? My dreams? My personality? My gifts? My comforts?
  • Will I trade all that I am and all I have worked skills, my possessions, my identity...for the joy of being completely lost in the name of Jesus?
  • Am I willing to be just one of millions of threads that are woven inconspicuously into the fabric of God's kingdom on earth; or do I, in some small way, want to have a distinctiveness all my own.
  • Do I love my SELF too much to truly lose my SELF for His sake?
I don't know how, but I'm diving in.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
-Jim Elliot


  1. Praying for you... it is astounding to me how fast the opportunities to "die" arise with prayers such as yours. Full, technicolor living action of how much self-life we have in us.

    For me, even greater than laying down preferences, personality, gifts and dreams (which are all very hard and I still struggle so much with)is obedience without explanation (to other people) and willingness to be misunderstood while obeying.

    Heart-wrenching to see how strong the desire is to defend one's self.

    The only encouragement in any of it is the reality that a decrease in self cannot be manufactured by us in any way. Only He can do the work and the kicker is, when the work is complete, we will never know.

    Once we are aware that we have some how, for some moment died to the self, we instantly spring to life again, spoiling the work.

    If you haven't already, I was very blessed by praying through Andrew Murray's book, Humility and recommend it highly.

    He "got it"and help me see just how crafty "self" truly is but at the same time, took me back to the cross, to the only true cure for it.

  2. Wow! This one sent my mind to my pondering tree. You've given me much to think about. I wish I could say I would answer well for my own life but God has been showing me just how lazy I am. There is much work and change to do.
    I love the transparency in your life that makes it easier to look at my life in private.