God has called me to follow Him a journey this New Year. Not that I haven’t always been on a journey with Him, but I guess to travel down a new path. I’ve been sensing the calling and restless for a little while now, but in my true, typical nature… trying to out-think and maneuver things on my own. But God even this morning confirmed that He wants me to go. I don’t know much beyond that, but am excited about what He is calling me to and hope to be able to share more as the journey continues.
This New Year, God put before me Paul’s words in Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” I haven’t been able to move from the thoughts of what it means to really know Christ and can’t even really get my mind around the idea of sharing in His sufferings. I think that is in part to being an American Christ-follower.
And I’ve had to face the natural trepidations that come with the idea of going on this journey knowing the word “suffering” is potentially on the path. Then in doing a little more exploring God led me to an earlier passage in Paul’s same letter where he said, I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (1:20-24).
Ah, much more comforting… moving from suffering to simply facing death. I read passages and statements in Scripture like these and sometimes have to wonder if the modern church, average Christian or closer to home – even myself can even grasp what it means to follow Christ. I almost said to follow Christ at that level, but realized for Paul it was just following Christ they way Jesus intended and even modeled for us Himself in His relationship with the Father.
But the journey starts with the first step… so, off I go.