I visited Mt. Calvary Baptist Church while in Maryland this past week and the pastor spoke about how when death happens, people like to call it a "transition." She was under the assumption that it was because it sounds nicer and more peaceful - but, people don't transition, they die. She correlated this to Jesus' death on the cross - saying, what if he had of just transitioned? He had to die because death is what allows new life.
While writing this, that message came to mind. Parts of me need to die in order for me to truly have new life. I've been using this phrase of a "journey", but this new perspective actually helps to set up what I came to speak about really well.
As I've been coming to understand what it truly means to live a Christian lifestyle, I've been met with challenges - whether it's what I consume (books, music, television), my activities, etc. I'm finding that there's been tension with who I want to become and where I currently am. It's because I've only accepted transition, not death.
"If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine." - NLT
The first time I read that verse, I didn't quite understand. Was this saying to separate myself from my family or for mothers to separate from their children?
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household." - NLT
Let that sink in! It really challenges you to consider the depths of your commitment to God. If you love anything or anyone more than Him, you are not worthy of being His. So, to answer my earlier question, yes. Anything that separates you from Him you need to let go of it.
I write this to speak on things I've been noticing in my own life as it relates to the people in my life. As I began to feel the call to draw nearer to God, I also notice the distance this is creating between me and people that I have in my "household." I am starting to see things in people that no longer reflect my values or align with my new passions. It's growing increasingly difficult to fully commit myself because those around me aren't seeking to do the same.
Something I've noticed is that I have the tendency to try to rationalize and think that I am strong enough or wise enough to discern what's best for my life and what decisions I should make for my life. As children, we often had this feeling when your parents tell you not to hang around certain people because of how they are and you convince yourself that you're not impressionable. But, influence does happen. So, as adults, we most listen to our heavenly father and heed his warnings without question - not just in this, but all areas.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." - NLT
I've come to a place where I'm being shown that there is only two directions for my life and only one leads to the path of righteousness. But, that means leaving things, desires, interests, opportunities, and people behind. I've been given the opportunity to have new life and in order for that to happen that means parts of my old life must die.