Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NLT)
I mentioned recently that I’m really into Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest this year. A friend gave me a small leather bound version of the devotional back in 2010, when I quit my previous career to step out and follow a crazy dream to share God’s love with hurting people.
Seriously, guys… I’m pretty good when it comes to reading things that were written before my time. But I would open this book, stare at it like it was Latin, and close it back up again and move on to another devotional. For two and a half years. It just wasn’t the right time.
Apparently 2013 is the right time, because I’m loving it to no end. [Can we also talk about how apparently 2013 – two and a half year after my big step of faith – is the year I’m starting to feel courageous enough to serve hurting people?!] That verse up there comes from February 4th’s devotional, only I’m using a modern translation.
Then Oswald Chambers goes on to say this:
When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the note of testimony is on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But the baptism of the Holy Ghost obliterates that forever, and we begin to realize what Jesus meant when He said, ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto me.’ Not witnesses to what Jesus can do – that is an elementary witness – but ‘witnesses unto me.’
When I was first truly walking with Christ and giving my life to Him, I was amazed at everything He was teaching me and how He could change me. Then He healed me of serious illness, and I wanted the whole world to know.
Over time, I’ve seen healing wasn’t the final thing. It’s not the ultimate blessing that could have come from that experience (though I love being healthier than I was). Knowing God’s great love is the real blessing from all of that. Walking with Him, giving Him praise through the hurting and through the healing, giving all things to Him, living for Him, acknowledging Him in all of my ways, and then telling everyone how awesome He is just because He’s awesome, and loving them the way that He loves me – that’s the most important thing that’s come out of that experience.
It’s taken several more phases of illness, and then better health, and then illness, and then better health, for me to start to grasp any of that. Even though I still hate going through any phase of illness and still cry out for help day and night, I see God bring me through each of those phases a little more refined than I was before. Not because of anything I’m doing, but because of what He does. He never brings me through from illness to better health without putting my focus right back on Him, and I never come through it without being fully reminded that God’s love is the thing I want and need more than anything else.
It is the only thing that matters, and the strange thing is that it is the last thing realized by the Christian worker.
When I pray for friends who are going through illness, I always pray for physical healing. But I also pray that they’ll feel God’s love with them at all times, because I know how important that is. That’s when we feel really alive.
I hope all of you are having a blessed day! Thanks for all of the incredibly supportive comments yesterday!
I’m linking up with Sarah for What He’s Done Wednesdays. Her words always make me think.