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To Look Is To Live

There is one season that every Christian faces and it is the dying of the flesh. The season that eradicates self along with anything that is associated with self. To many we believe it is to live

as Christ lives by extending ourselves endlessly to others to show that we are about them and not us. We believe that if we serve and do things for people regardless of how we feel but it is so much deeper than we came fathom. We believe we have died to ourselves when our life looks like it serves others. We believe the death of ourselves and the new life in Christ is just blessings with every life milestone hit. Once we have all of those things, we believe we'll have the joy of the Lord. Yet even with those things inwardly there's a stress, anger or overwhelmingness. We get faced with different scenarios yet we feel dead but not to ourselves. We feel warn out and say "but I just cannot possibly please everyone or do everything."

All of our carnal mindsets and our actions/ways of living or coping come to the surface. All of our old habits come to the surface. Things that we do or think in order to feel safe and find security when chaos strikes. We cannot understand in a surrendered life to Christ why we may feel so bound when we believe in who He is and what He's done. We pray yet feel the same. We read the Bible more yet feel the same. The Lord does not want more of your work in honor to Him. He wants more of you in deepest areas of your heart. The Lord wants an eradication of every false altar in you. Any place that gives you a comfort or peace other than Him is a false altar within. He wants to be your comfort and your safety in rejection, in persecution and in hardship. He wants to give you His wisdom, His strength and His understanding. He wants to create a deep dependency on Him in you. He wants to remove self-sufficiency in every area of your life. He wants to remove self-preservation and self-righteousness.

In the eradication of these things it can feel so hard to face them. It can feel like a deep agony of the dying of the flesh. It can feel like an emptiness that we can't understand if we're trying so hard to get filled with the Lord. It can feel like you have been forsaken by the Father. But I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me that in the final moments in the crucifixion of the flesh, Jesus also felt forsaken by the Father. This was the suffering He endured. It is so simple and easy to walk with the Lord in the blessing, in the ministry and in the church. It's easy to walk when the Lord answers the prayers and when we are building a relationship with Him. But one day in your walk with Him as you're getting closer He asks you, "Will you suffer with Me?" Philippians 3:10-11 says "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

We always hear about being in fellowship with the Lord to build a relationship not a religion. We hear being conformed to His likeness and image but I believe the Lord is revealing His true self and not the fabricated Jesus of modern day Christianity. We are conformed to His death and fellowship with His sufferings. We are in fellowship and made in the likeness and image of ALL of Jesus. Without a death to our own desires, ways and self which are parts of the flesh there cannot be a resurrection. Without a death of our emotions, our will, our perspective and our behavior there cannot be a resurrection.

In the moments of the Holy Spirit revealing the next part of you He wants to heal and remove, we feel the emptiness and being forsaken but we have a choice to make. We can say yes to those moments or we can try to get out of them by finding other things to "fill" or distract us. We can go to what were used to or we can say yes to the death of us. Many think that sentence is about going back to the things of this world to be distracted and run but you can run to the church and avoid the same death of you. You can serve the poor and still run from you. You can listen and go to every church service but still run from you and this crucial moment in your walk with the Lord.

As the Israelites were lost in the wilderness for 40 years, we can follow the same ways not only because we don't trust the Lord but because we reject the need of His refinement in us. We reject Him and run from the idea of healing and putting away that false altar in us. But we will continue to run in circles with the same issues year after year until we confront the very thing the Lord wants to eradicate. You cannot run from it, you cannot hide from it, and you cannot cover it. You can only die to it because Jesus will not allow you to move forward until He does what He intends to do for you.

The hardest part of it all is a deep hard look at all the filth, the weakness and flaws within that are now exposed. We have and feel a deep sense of hate towards ourselves which is what we always wanted to escape from. But instead of looking to us in the fire, we look to the cross. We look to the One who is perfect, sinless and loves us unconditionally. The revelation of the love of Christ towards us will be the only thing that sustains us in this life. His love will be the only thing that encourages us to keep going. If you are struggling today, my prayer is simple, "Lord give us the revelation of your love." (Ephesians 3:17-19)

In Numbers, the Lord told Moses to place a bronze serpent on a staff and whoever looks to it will live. The fiery serpents were sent to the people and bit them as they looked to themselves, circumstances and people. We can look to these things and perish or we can look to Christ and live. This is not to say to avoid the self refinement by ignoring the false altars in you. This is to repent, look to the cross and be healed. To repent is to lay it all down, turn from it and be renewed in the mind by Christ Jesus. Not done by human strength, capabilities or actions but by the Spirit of the living God. The flesh is weak but the Spirit is willing. We will find no confidence in the flesh but only in Christ. We will find no answers in ourselves. We will find no peace in ourselves. Our own righteous is nothing but filthy rags but He Himself clothes us in His righteousness. He turns ashes to beauty and mourning to dancing. As He carried the cross, He proclaimed "I make all things new."

He most certainly does and there is none like Him. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life but the narrow path is narrow for a reason. You cannot take any baggage to walk on it and through the gate. The choice is either all of Him and none of you or some of you and none of Him. His love for you is so much greater than anything you want to hold onto. He has greater in store. To look is to live.

James 1:23-25

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

2 Corinthians 3:18

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

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