Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dead and Wasted

These thoughts have been rumbling around in my head for a couple weeks now. Much of it comes from books, music, and conversation all continuing to teach me to ask an important question.


Not, am I being satisfied by what He allows me to have. Not, am I satisfying Him by what I am trying to do for His glory. But... Am I allowing God to satisfy Himself through me? And what does that look like?

This year I joking said I was giving up "trying" for Lent. The joking part was that I gave it up for Lent. I want to give it up forever. I knew what I meant on an emotional and mental level, but I wasn't sure how to quite put it into words for others to understand. It didn't mean I was going to give up trying to be healthy, or trying new things, or even trying to make good decisions. I gave up trying to be what I thought God (and in many ways others too) wanted me to be and instead let God actually DO through me. 

If I don't die, then there cannot be any resurrection life in me. Mostly dead (yay Princess Bride reference!) still means somewhat alive. If I am somewhat alive I only need resuscitation, not resurrection. Why would I want to bring back to life the flesh in me which can only keep trying and failing?

I heard recently of a christian who was feeling convicted in her relationship as they had crossed some lines. She realized that she had been making choices that slowly led her away from keeping her heart and mind centered on Christ. So, she confessed and surrendered her life back to God including the relationship she was in. Shortly after this, the man proposed to her. She was ecstatic as she felt God had returned her relationship to her and made it better because she willingly surrendered it. I'm not saying that isn't true. God is a good Father who loves to bless us, but my own personal experience of surrender has been different. 

At times, I have begged and pleaded for the things my heart desires. The bible says "you have not because you ask not." Well, I've asked. Other times, I've taken things into my own hands. God helps those who help themselves, right? (btw... that option never worked out well). I've gone through the motions of surrendering in hopes that God would then bless me. No such luck. Until finally, I stopped all that trying and really surrendered it all. (I'm sure I'll have to come back to this place again and again, perhaps even before the end of the day). Until He is my single desire, I'm still trying to stay partly alive.      

I can't help but wonder how often we surrender something and the enemy flashes a mirrored reflection of our own desires back into our face and we are deceived into thinking it's God's desire for us? How DO we tell the difference?

Do you know what is universal about dead people? They don't care about what might happen to them.

I want to live like I'm dead, so Christ's death can become my life.

The last chapter of Watchman Nee's book The Normal Christian Life focuses on the story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus just prior to his crucifixion. It is here we are taught to ask "Is God being satisfied?" Mary didn't care about the monetary worth of the perfume, she only knew it was the best she had, her earthly treasure and she spent it all on the One who was worthy of it all. The disciples appeared to have watched the scene seeing all the could have "been doing" with the earthly value of the perfume. "Oh... think of all we could have done for the poor. What a waste!" Jesus was more satisfied with Mary's actions then the disciples response. What satisfied God's glory the most in that moment was His Son being prepared for burial through treasure that appeared to be wasted. 

Oh to be wasted for God's glory! 

As these thoughts were coming together, one thing that struck me was that Mary had to break the box in order to get to the perfume. The alabaster box probably wasn't anything special, just the container for the treasure... yet it too became waste in the process. Jesus didn't miraculously unseal the box so Mary could pour out the perfume, although He certainly could have. Nor did he replace the perfume so she would still have something to fall back on if times got hard. He could have done that too. Mary was left empty handed for a time. 

God did fill her empty hands with blessing for her act of surrendered worship. Mark 14:8 says "She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial." (emphasis mine) Mary was one of the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ. She already had and was the only one who would because He had risen. Who was the first to see the resurrected Christ? She was. She surrendered. She poured out. She was willing to be wasted. She desired to satisfy Him. She was the first to experience the blessing returned for her surrender... Resurrection! 

Our surrender is answered with resurrection not resuscitation. 
My prayer continues to be "I want to live like I'm dead, so Christ's death can become my life."


"You weren't there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don't know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box."
(CeCe Winans Alabaster Box)