Our pastor told the story of Joseph Ton who was a preacher in Romania, which at that time was under communist rule and illegal to preach Jesus. One day, Joseph sensed the Lord wanting him to be willing to literally lie to self. So he courageously preached knowing he was putting himself in danger. When the communist party person threatened Joseph saying that he had the power to kill Joseph, Joseph replied that since he was already dead, he had nothing to lose. The party person didn’t know how to handle that kind of courage and backed off. As a result, Joseph continued to courageously preach.
As I mediated on being dead to self this morning, it was very meaningful. If I’m dead to self and my entitlements (as I wrote in the last post), I need fear nothing. So doesn’t God always give you opportunities to apply what you so strongly commit to? After I wrote about entitlement, the next day as Larry and I busily planted flowers and worked on the house in preparation of dinner guests, I was feeling like I was doing well with my time and Larry took some time out to rest watching TV before he completed his “assignments.” As he got ready to go walk/run, he said, “How’s your time going for what you want to do?” I told him good. He then said, “Could you wipe off the barbeque in preparation for me barbequeing for dinner?”
I bristled inside, thinking, “If you hadn’t watched tv you’d have time to do that.” “Entitlement! Rights! Don’t be taken advantage of!” screamed!
But inside also I knew this was a test. I did have time and I wanted Larry to get exercise and he had worked hard in the garden–that’s why he had rested. But whether or not there were good reasons, I knew God was calling me to give up my entitlements and die to self. Did I do it totally cheerfully? NO! But it was a choice that I was glad I made.
And as I’ve often taught, God gives you enough time to do what He wants you to do. I had plenty of time of complete the rest of the things I needed to do.
Does God want us to be door mats? No. At times, we’ll say “no” as He directs. But there is courage and freedom in dying–because there is no need to demand life from things that can’t give life. (Jeremiah 2:13).