A Thirty Day Devotional adapted from the NEW book: Identity: The Distinctiveness of You – Day 22
I am a saint and loved by God. Romans 1:7
I am accepted by Christ. Romans 15:7
I have died to sin…and alive to God. Romans 6:2, 11
What would it look like for someone who is experiencing sexual brokenness or gender dysphoria to become a follower of Jesus? Author Andrew Walker says, “It would be very, very hard. And yet, at the same time, it would be experientially and eternally worthwhile.” He says that each of us have a cross to bear. That may include cancer, undesired singleness or any number of issues.
In Matthew 16:24, 25, Jesus told us, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Andrew writes, “To carry a cross means to deny ourselves – to lose whatever defined and directed our lives before we met our Maker, came to him as our Savior and began to follow him as our Lord.”
Paul the Apostle, in pleading with God to take away an issue in his life, wrote about it this way in II Corinthians 12: 9, 10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Not one of us asks for this cross. We do not seek a cross to carry. We like a carefree and comfortable life to live and we abhor the uncomfortable. As I travel the world, I have seen the slum where three quarters of a million people live in Kenya. I have seen the poverty and the lack of any governmental control in Haiti. I have been in places where overcontrolling governments say that Christianity cannot be openly practiced. These believers live daily with these crosses and they take them on willingly, as normality, without complaint.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The power of darkness around us is strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people. But when we keep listening attentively to the Voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us. Physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the curse.”
What are you waiting for? We each have a choice to make. We choose to submit our sexuality to God and His plan or we do not. We take a hard stand and choose His way or we cast off restraint and go full-on our way. Either God’s grace is sufficient for each of us no matter what we deal with or we determine it is not. Either way, we are left with the consequences of our decisions. Deciding God’s way may mean having a certain cross to bear, but it will not last forever and it will lead us into an eternity of God’s pleasure. He is preparing a place for us and He longs for each one of us to choose His way in order to enter into that place. (See John 14:1-3.)
Question for reflection:
Can you identify any cross that you are presently bearing?
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