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Thursday, March 20, 2008

From Devotion to Denial

I'm so visual that when I read the Bible, I often find myself wondering how it was to hear Jesus teach in person. If I lived "back then" in the Bible days I'm sure I would've been one of His faithful followers. One who couldn't wait to share His mountainside teachings with others. Blistered feet surely would've displayed the followings of my heart.
Surely I would've had a walk worthy enough for God to have named a book in the Bible after me...Esther, Ruth, Lelia... all because of my hunger for Him, my dedication to Him and my yearning for more of Him
AND YET...
I've outdone the disciple Peter in the denial department.
I don't listen to Jesus.
I disobey Him.
I think I know best.
I'm fooling myself if I think I would've walked miles to hear His Word when I don't even want to drive across town for church. I believe I would've been so excited to share about Him back then, but everyday I pass up opportunities to show Him off.
Out of pure selfishness I keep Jesus to myself.
I would've been first to welcome Him as He entered the city the week before His death. I would've been the one that handed out the palm branches and encouraged everyone to lay down their cloaks for Him.
I would've invited Him in to where I lived and treated Him like the King that He is.
With tears streaming down my face I would've been overwhelmed in His presence and with arms raised I would've cried out,
"Hosanna in the highest!"
That's what I want to believe.
Sounds pretty, but I also know when asked by Pilate what to do with Jesus, I would've been one of many yelling "Crucify Him!".
How do I know this?
Because I do it now.
Not with those exact words, but how I choose to live my life at times screams denial.
Many years ago, I re-dedicated my messed up self to Jesus and invited Him back into my life. I was overtaken with the emotion of His sudden presence when He consumed every part of me. My thoughts. My words. My desires. My emptiness.
He filled it all and He did it well.
Then life happens and the messes come.
The solutions look impossible.
The hardness in my heart begins to form.
The joy I once had runs to hide from the anger that takes over.
I distance myself from fellow sisters in Christ who reach out to me.
I don't want to go to church.
I don't want to keep my commitments.
And my Bible gets closed.
I just want to be left alone because I am trying so hard to do what Jesus never intended for me to do alone.
LIFE.
Friends, this life is hard and Jesus knows that better than any of us.
We need Him and He wants us.
The day I invited Jesus to come into my life was the day I recognized my weaknesses and traded it for His strength. I was in desperate need of a Savior and when I found Him, He exceeded all of my expectations.
I wish I could say it's like that all the time, but it's just not. The times I deny Him and try to fill His role with other things, my whole life must feel the same way that a miner feels when the cave engulfs him. Pure panic and fear. Desperate to be saved.
I have got to stop turning my back on the One I welcomed into my life.
I invited Him to come and dwell within me and yet in a heartbeat the devotion I think I have for Him turns to denial. I become the angry face in the crowd yelling "I don't want to follow You Lord! This is too hard! I'm done!" Sounds a lot like what the crowd demanded Pilate to do that day doesn't it? It's not that I ever deny Him as being Jesus, I deny Him the role He wants to play in my life. I deny Him being able to bless me. I deny Him the freedom to transform me on a daily basis.
I deny Him being Jesus to me.
Lord, I know I do a terrible job at making my walk match up with my talk, but I think the reason you stick it out with me is because You can see my hearts' true desire to be with You. Doesn't hurt either that your love endures forever, but just by looking in the mirror I don't see why. I'm so unworthy to be held in Your arms Lord, but please don't let go of me. Grab me by my hair if you have to when I start to wander away from You. Just keep me close to You because when I get out of Your arms' reach my life becomes beyond meaningless.
I need You.
Thank you for going to the cross. Thank You for leaving the tomb. Thank you for preparing a place for me. I don't understand what it is that You see in me...must be Your own reflection because You are the only good in this girl.
I absolutely adore You my King!
Hosanna in the Highest!
Have a blessed Easter celebrating the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. He's Alive within you if you've invited Him into your life. Allow Him to consume you.
Jesus, You are worth all of this.
Click here to a view a touching tribute to our Lord.
Love,
Lelia

10 comments:

Laura said...

Lelia,
this is so beautiful, dear one. My heart is beating in unison with yours today! I relate to all you have laid down. You are a beautiful lady. I pray your Good Friday is tender. I pray you a joyous Easter. And I will be praying for your precious daughter and grandchild. Bless you.
Laura

Annette said...

So beautifully put. I can identify with your struggle so much. My heart's desire doesn't always reflect what I actually do. As Paul says, I do what I don't want to do and don't do what I want to do. What a cycle, yet He is still so utterly faithful to me anyway.

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

Hi my Friend,
Thank you so much for your prayers! I can't tell you what it means to me when I see all the love and care I have gotten from such Godly women. WOW, I am so thankful God led me to start a blog, it has blessed me more than I could have imagined.

I will be praying for your daughter and her precious baby. It sounds like they both have wonderful support and medical care. And I know your daughter has great encouragement in the Lord from her Mom!

Take care of yourself and keep me updated on how things are going. I will be thinking of you and praying.....

Love, Kelley

Jenny said...

Leila,
Beautiful post! How is your daughter and grandbaby?

I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about them. So I prayed for them. I just wanted to check on them.
Jenny

MaryLu said...

Lelia,
We must all be related to Peter. "Oh no, Lord, I would never deny you!" "What? I wasn't one of His followers, you've got to be kidding!"
Out of the very same mouth.
Thanks for putting it so clearly, what we all, (I'm afraid) experience all too often.

Yolanda said...

This totally spoke to my heart and what a blessing to share the deepness of who God has become for you. He is our KING!

I love you!

Sita Henderson said...

As much as I am flabbergasted at how the Israelites turned away from God to other gods, I am always humbled at my total inability to single-mindedly follow Him. Today, I am reminded that because of His grace and His power, His resurrection power in me, I can live for Him and I dare not judge those who do not know Him. Thank you, Lelia. Have a blessed Easter.
Love, Sita

MrsJoeB said...

Lelia-you have beautifully written this. We have been teaching from John 6 & 7 in our youth and have discussed and challenged the teens to look at that time period and the peoples reaction to Christ as compared to our time period and our reaction to Christ. Plain and simple, even those who could touch Him still denied Him. I would hope I would have stood faithful to Him but there are days I fail Him. Thank God for that cross!
I love the thought that He would have added a Bible chapter "Lelia"-sound really good! and in reality-you are a chapter in His book!!
Keep me posted on your grandbaby!! Still praying!
In His Graces~Pamela

Rhonda said...

Lelia - What a great post. I'm there. I've been there. We are so unworthy!
Praise God for Grace!!

How are your daughter and grandbaby??? Please keep us updated.

Blessings & Happy Easter!!!

Rhonda

Linda said...

Lelia, I'm trying to get caught up here. Sorry I haven't been by for a while. This is a gut-wrenchingly honest post. I have always thought I would have probably gone along with the mob, as well, and that breaks my heart. We are so weak, but he is so strong. Have a blessed Easter.