While reading this morning, I came across an excellent devotional by Ann Voskamp. It was entitled “Why Love is Worth Breaking Your Heart”. It had my mind spinning and my heart opened a bit to understand why selfishness is often chosen over love. One look back over my teenage years and I see plenty of evidence to back this up. When selfishness is your life choice, you depend on yourself for everything. If you fail, then you are to blame and nobody else. Material things become far more important than they should and guarding them is added to your job description. Your kingdom of one becomes your place of safety. Love of self will not hurt you, or so you think.
In these days, kingdoms are being revealed. I know the Lord has been revealing somethings I have been blind too. Sin that I was not even aware of and places that I just could not see my way out. He has been patient and allowed me to share my heart. He never seems to run out of time to listen. His Word is uncontainable and seems to leap off the page. His glory is being revealed in big and small ways. It is a fascinating time. However, in the midst of the good, there is fear and grief going on in the world. Fear of getting sick, possibly dying. Grief over missing things and the normal way of life we have enjoyed. Can you even imagine the day when we get to gather back in our church buildings? I think I will just cry the whole time. What a sweet day of rejoicing that will be! May we long for that day of being at Home with Him even more.
I read a quote by George Muller recently and I find it to be the best advice for all of during these days. He said, “There was a day when I died; died to self, my opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.” Seems a bit upside down does it not? But only in the death of self do we find life. I would ask you, as I have asked myself, have you died to yourself yet?
One day during Bible study held at our church, our teacher talked about Queen Elizabeth. She flashed a picture up on the screen of her coronation day. In my heart I heard the Lord whisper, “That is how I see you.” It was so real that I had to will myself to remain still and not distract from the teaching. This is how God sees me? How can that be? Oh, I have read His word, claimed my new identity, but royalty seemed too much when shown this extravagant image. Keep me at His feet yes, but anything more is too much. I am very aware of the scripture that says I have been chosen and now are part of a royal priesthood (see I Peter 2:9). To reconcile that in my heart is another thing. To live accordingly… how can that be possible?
The key is in the dying part. Death to your selfish, “safe” kingdom in exchange to His Kingdom and life. And then, dressed in your robe of righteousness, that puts even the most costly gown to shame, you take your place in the Kingdom. Then you begin to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9). Death and all of its demands no longer has ahold on you. You are no longer a captive to self, but free to love without fear. Yes, your heart will be broken and dreams will be dashed, but this is only temporary. And in the living you are given peace, faith, strength, joy, laughter and treasure that can never be lost.
Friend, today could be your Coronation Day! You could be welcomed into the royal family and your rags traded once and for all. What is the cost? It has already been paid on the cross by Jesus. You need only believe, accept and obey. Palace living, ruled by the loving King of Kings makes our own castles look worse than cardboard boxes. The choice is ours and time is not promised. Once your royal identity has been recorded in the Book of Life, the transaction is complete.
Maybe it has been awhile since you have remembered the King. Maybe it has been years since you picked up His Word and read words of love on each page. Even the pages that have discipline, there is evidence of His love. Perhaps you felt or judged the royal robe was a bit to confining and your prison rags were more fun. I pray they begin to feel like sackcloth and you run Home. Falling at your Fathers feet, may you hear Him saying to grab a robe and new shoes, and get a party ready! When the music begins, I pray you hear the angels rejoicing too. Until then, I will keep praying, talking to our King and asking Him to soften your heart. I will keep asking Him to make away for your eyes to be open and your ears to hear how much He loves you. I have found that He loves to answer the requests of His children.