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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Consume me: to live is Christ

Today is as bad as yesterday was good. Thanksgiving Day this year was perhaps the very best holiday I have ever had. I did two things. Well, three things. Spend time with God, spend time with people, and eat. Today I have a food hangover, and I think an emotional one too. I am sad that all days cannot feel as good as yesterday. If they did, it would be much easier to feel like “to live is Christ”.

This morning I woke up grumpy. As I have spent my habitual time with God throughout the day, my outlook on life has improved astronomically; but I still feel tired, disillusioned and disappointed. Factually nothing has changed since yesterday; I am just having a hard time remembering God’s truth and how dependable and trustworthy He is.

A few weeks ago, I told a friend that in my spiritual growth I had come to the realization that “to die was gain”, but I was pretty sure I had no idea what “to live is Christ” meant.

(Concerning his own life, the Apostle Paul told the Philippians, “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.”)

It is true that I have no other reason to live than Christ, but I don’t engage life like I believe it. My attitudes, thoughts and emotions don’t demonstrate that I believe the only reason for my existence on earth is to experience Christ and be in His service. Neither does the way I fight His invitation to take the next step in serving Him demonstrate I really believe He is the only reason to live. My ego constantly gets in my way.

Today as I mulled this over, I considered that as I make decisions in the end I do always seem to keep concluding that “to live is Christ”; but I keep checking out all the other options first. I keep looking around to see if there is something better. In some terrible way, perhaps I keep trying to get out of following Him.

He is everything I have. He is everything I want. On days like yesterday, it was much easier to know that than it is today. Today my emotions won’t align with this information until the very end of spending my habitual time with Him this evening. Slowly throughout the course of the day, I have become more rooted in the gospel; but it isn’t always easy.

I have begun to pray that God will teach me what it means to know and truly interact with life like “to live is Christ”. I would like my knee-jerk reaction to the question, “Life is a…” to be “Jesus! My life is consumed with my Savior. I am in love with Him, and He is all I think about!”

Or perhaps more practically…

“Life is a journey with Jesus, during which I get to intimately know the God of the universe. Every day is about learning to know Him more and worshiping Him with a more single heart. It is an honor to suffer with Him.”

Okay, I am going to side-track myself; but something recently came to my attention. I don’t even remember what prompted it. It is this: I have been considering that perhaps I don’t have to learn to handle pain better or like pain more in order to genuinely consider it an honor to suffer with Christ. Perhaps all that really has to happen is for me to better understand the gospel message.

As I have studied Romans over the last year, God has gotten so much bigger and better from my point of view. I have become so much smaller. I have begun to think if I simply admitted and acknowledged how truly great God is and how truly weak and helpless I am, perhaps then I would truly KNOW it is an honor to be counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ.

I don’t think my lack of gratitude for this honor has to do with the amount of pain I am experiencing as I carry the cross He asked me to carry. I think it has everything to do with how small I think my God is and how big I know my ego is.

Yes, I want to know that “to live is Christ”. I want Him to become greater and me to become lesser. I want to be so consumed with His glory that I really do think it is an honor to experience pain for His name’s sake.

How would you finish the sentence “Life is a…”? Do you understand what great news the gospel is? In other words, have you begun to understand how GOOD God is?

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