"Then Peter said to Him, 'Lord, we have left all to follow You.' " Mark 10:28......"Christ says, 'Give Me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.'.....I don't want to cut of a branch here and a branch there. I want the whole tree down." C.S. Lewis....."Come die. In a thousand ways." Ann Voskamp
Not long ago I heard someone speaking about Paul, about how he was willing to assume the place of a "doormat" in order to glorify Christ. I wrote in my prayer journal, "Am I humble enough to be a doormat?" The circumstances of life keep teaching me that I'm not. I'm taught that every time I take offense at some slight, whether perceived or real. I'm taught that when my pride is wounded by any word or action that might suggest I'm not everything I think I am. I'm taught that whenever an opportunity to serve Him comes along, but I think the opportunity beneath me, or would not be noticed at all. I'm especially taught that in my response to criticism, especially when it is unfair and untrue. I learn anew that I'm not humble enough to be a doormat. I do not have, as someone has said, "the strength to be nothing." I don't have it. And I think it very likely that you don't as well. We may be able to put on a mask of humility, but within us, something far different than that spirit is seething and burning....looking for a way to express itself.
I preach and write a great deal about abandonment to Christ, yet He continually brings me up to the place of seeing how much of my life is not yet abandoned to Him. Especially as concerns my reputation and standing in the eyes of others. Does anyone else besides me have the same problem? Oswald Chambers said "Most of us know abandonment in vision only." In other words, it's a theory we believe in, not a reality we live in.
There is only one way to enter into the life of abandonment to Him. We have to be willing to die to self in a thousand ways....and then in a thousand and one more besides. To abandon ourselves to Him means to be willing to die to absolutely anything that stands between us and Him. To die to All. And in entering into that, we discover how vast are the number of idols, desires, hopes and dreams there are for us to die out to. There is no way into that life but through His cross, and His cross will not tolerate a little bit of our life given to Him here and there. As Lewis says, the whole tree must come down, not just a branch or two.
To die upon a cross was a most horrible death. It is said that one died a thousand times. The spiritual reality hasn't changed for us. The number of things we must die to seems endless.....but here's the joy and wonder; the amount of true Life that we enter into is infinite. We may die in a thousand ways, but the abundance we receive is beyond measure or count. And He calls us there, to our own Calvary. To the cross. His, and ours. Upon that Tree, our tree comes down. Roots, branches, all. All to Jesus we surrender. All to Him we freely give.....and All of Him is ours. That's how Paul could say that losing all, including his right to himself, was nothing in comparison to what he gained in the riches found in Christ.