Lost In God



Beneath the surface, there's a shifting going on in the Body of Christ worldwide that signals a season of radical change.  It may be a long time before this change becomes visible on the surface, but it is already here.


The Spirit of God is "turning on the light," showing us things about ourselves that we've tried not to face. For instance, how do you feel when you discover that a certain area of you life, which you always thought was quite special, hardly looks "special" to God?


Perhaps you've thought of yourself as considerate, kind.  God turns on the light and reveals that it's a front.  You begin to see a selfishness in you that fills you with shame.


You look in the mirror expecting to see a follower of Jesus, and instead you discover a hypocrite who has never taken one serious risk for the kingdom of God.


Perhaps we've always felt certain that our faith runs deep --- until we are brought into a minor trial; suddenly faith evaporates.


We are given a tour of the back warehouse of our minds, only to find pile after pile of grudges that have never been forgiven, whitewashed over with thin religious "justifications".


We stumble into a situation that demands nothing more than some down-to-earth-love, only to discover that our supply of love is exhausted.


We begin to cry out,


"Why is this going on in me?"

"Why did God allow me to go on for years thinking things were fine?" 

"Why is he forcing me to see my true condition?"


It's safe to say that this is happening in many parts of the Body of Christ across the earth at this hour.   And the reason is simple: God is going to have himself a real church to proclaim his gospel at the midnight hour.


-          Not a clique of hypocrites.

-          Not an army of religious phonies.

-          Not "saints" who are full of bigotry beneath their religious masks.

-          Not an assembly of self-righteous snobs.


God is going to have a Body of Saints who are dead to self and alive only

to Him.


Two Groups


Out of all of the sifting, stirring, and churning taking place in the Body of Christ two groups are emerging.


First there are the "self preservers."  They think of themselves as Christians, but their main concern is their own preservation.


They want to make tomorrow as safe and comfortable as possible.


They're getting ready for the Tribulation, just in case the Rapture, as they always expected it, doesn't come in time. They are preparing, not with increased courage, not with faith in the Father's provision, but with more emergency supplies for themselves.


They go to meetings, praise the Lord, do nice things for each other, but their basic concern is their own safety.


There are thousands upon thousands of "doctrinally sound" Christians who are following, not the gospel of The Cross of Jesus Christ, but the gospel of self.


"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ." Philippians 3:18


They prove that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, not by the things they say, but by their walk. They are following a "Christ" who demands no cross of them, who floats in and out among them offering prosperity on demand.


This is the raw material for the church of the anti-Christ, soon to emerge.


Secondly there are the "self-losers."


These believers have given up their right to themselves, surrendered it to Jesus.


They are losing their lives in their Lord.

They are cutting ties.

They are burning bridges.

They are getting rid of the clutter in their lives.

They are tearing out of their hearts and out of their circumstances

everything that offends the Lord---until there is nothing left.

                        Until they are dead with the Crucified One.

Until their lives are lost in the doing of God's will.


"And he called to him the multitude with the disciples, and said to them, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses is life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.'"

                                                                        Mark 8: 34-35


We know that passage by heart. We've heard it endless times. And almost every time we hear it, Satan twists it, and makes it sound like something morbid.


"Oh yeah…take up your cross … lose your life …  come on! Tell me something cheerful! I want a happy gospel."


We rarely stop to consider what Jesus means when he says, "if."  Jesus cajoles no one.  But if we choose to come after him, the requirement is that we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.  Otherwise, go ahead and play church to your hearts content; but forget about being a disciple of the Crucified and Risen One.


The Master lost his life.


He kept pouring it out until there was nothing left but a corpse hanging on a cross.


They took that body down, wrapped it in linen and put it in a tomb.


Two mornings later, into the darkness of the tomb and into that corpse came the Spirit of the Living God, who not only brought the body back to life, but utterly transformed it – brought it up into a life that never existed before… so that,


the Jesus who stepped forth from the tomb was radically different from the Jesus who was on the cross, yet the same Jesus.


The same, but different---so different!


He was sown in corruption. He was raised in incorruption.


He was sown in dishonor. He is raised in glory.


He was sown in weakness. He is raised in power.


So that now … Jesus is able to give to those close to him and those who seek him the resurrection life of his Spirit.


That life is possible in its fullness, only after this body of flesh and blood is dead.


In the same way the life he purchased for us by his blood, can make its abode in us only as this self, this religious self, this spiritual self, this "I" which is forever standing up for its own rights --- is dead.


When the big "I" is dead, then there is an earthquake, a shaking, followed by glory, life, resurrection, power, joy unspeakable, healing in abundance --- so that the "you" who steps forth from the tomb with Jesus is very different from the "I" you were before.


God won't take our old lives from us. We have to lay them down.  Nor will he perform the miracle of resurrection life, until we submit to the miracle of crucifixion with Christ. 


Our job is to lay down our lives.

His job is to quicken us with his Spirit.

Our job is to lose our lives in his purpose.

His job is to give us new life, as we move in his purpose.


It is also important to remember that the laying down of our lives is not a once-and-done thing for us any more than it was for Jesus.  His final laying down of his life was the climax of a lifetime of laying it down.  Jesus was continually laying down his life. Every day he was offering himself up to the Father. Constantly losing himself in the Father's will.


It was this constant outpouring of his life, giving it over to his Father's will that finally brought him to his cross.


Likewise it's the continuous laying down of "self", losing ourselves to God's will, that brings us to the cross that we ultimately die on, wherever or whatever it may be.


But we have to take up that cross. No one can do it for us.


At some point we have to make a beginning … we have to start …


And many of us have never even begun.


We've thought about it, brooded about it, perhaps even prayed about it,

but we have yet to do it.


"Lord, can't I just follow you in this familiar world where I'm safe and comfortable?"


"Why do I have to follow you into the unknown?

All I want is to be saved, Lord, I don't care about the rewards.

Didn't you say, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved'?

Well, Lord, I believe and I've been baptized.

Isn't that enough?"


And the Lord asks, "What does your baptism mean?  Wasn't your baptism a death?   Did you not renounce Satan and all his works and all his ways and abandon yourself to me?"


                                    Baptism means your bridges have been burned,

                                    that you no longer belong to yourself.


"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."


To deny myself means to turn myself around so that my back is now against my own interests and my face is toward Jesus.  I can't possibly see Jesus if I'm still wrapped up in my "fishing boat."  I have to focus on him with all my heart.


God will not do this for me.  It only happens by an act of my own will.  I turn away from my "fishing boat,"

my fears,

my dreams,

my resentments,

my bitterness,

and deliberately set my face toward Jesus.


Only then do I begin to see God's kingdom and understand the things that Jesus is saying.


But nothing happens until we make a start.  There has to be a beginning.  And there is no reason why we cannot make that beginning (or new beginning) even as these words are being read…..


"Take up your cross…"


A cross is something you have to carry. It has weight, which is carried in our heart.    


Jesus was carrying his cross from the time his ministry began.


And the carrying of the cross means that I am now under the authority of God, who is teaching me to pour out my life. To spend it.  To keep losing it in his purpose.


It's time for us all to stop "thinking about" the cross and simply pick it up.


Time to stop wondering when our sister or brother will pick up the cross…

wondering when Mark is going to pick it up,

when Mary is going to pick it up.

Who knows? Maybe they picked up their cross long ago.

But what about you?


We pick up the cross and say, "Here I am, Lord.  I place myself under the power of your victorious cross ... and pick up the cross you have given me to carry."


I am lost from the sight of men. I'm no longer "God's man or woman for the hour."


I'm cut off from those things which were my security in the past. It's all gone.


By your grace I will keep losing myself, until there's nothing left to lose.


"…deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me…"


Jesus doesn't say, "Admire me."

Jesus has millions of admirers.  But who's following?


"I am walking in the will of my Father", says the Lord. "I'm pouring out my life for my brothers and sisters – laying down my life for them. If you wish to follow me, you will walk in my steps, and do the same."


The Spirit is calling us to lose ourselves in the Lord Jesus.  To be dead with him to the world, and alive with him to the Father's will.


One step of obedience will bring the Lord to our side, and his yoke to our shoulders.


We will be lost in his purpose, and at rest in his will.