A while back I was scrolling mindlessly through social media when an image containing a quote halted me:
If you have “been to Gethesemane” you know what he means. It’s the excruciatingly painful gut-wrenching process of laying down whatever we think we have a right to.
✔️ If you do not carry your own cross (die to self, relinquish rights) you cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
✔️ Don’t begin until you count the cost. (vs. 28)
✔️ You cannot be my disciple without giving up everything you own. (vs.33)
I have to do this every day. Once is not enough. Some mornings it takes me two hours of crying/praying/wrestling to come to a settled place again. For me it sounds like this:
I give up my right to have a healthy son.
I give up my right to not watch him continually suffer.
I give up my right to understand.
I completely defer to Your will in this situation.
It feels like more than I can endure. Choosing this every day has made Gethsemane a daily thing, a lifestyle. It was a lifestyle for Jesus, he made this choice every day of His earthly life to show us how to do it. We get a clear glimpse of it on the night before His torturous death, but He was already accustomed to making this continual decision.
Father, please if there is any other way. Nevertheless your will supersedes my own. Your will be done, not mine. Jesus had every legal reason to every right imaginable. He relinquished it all.
He is not a God asking us to do the unthinkable who has not first demonstrated giving up everything to the will of His Father. It was agony. Yet He chose.
He did this because He trusted His Father. He believed in the benefit, believed in the promises, believed it was worth it.
What about our promises? If I’ve been told by God that something will happen, is it not a “right” I have as one of His children to expect its fulfillment?
Here’s the point: I can know and believe what God has said will happen and stand in strong faith while at the same time continually relinquishing my right to see it happen.
This is the only way to live through deep suffering. My Carson knows this. The crushing weight of a hundred disappointments is extremely difficult to endure and overcome.
We can withstand it only when our rights to everything, even the things God has promised us in this life, are dead to us.
Not many will understand this. I’m convinced that’s why Jesus said, “The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matt. 7:14)
The few that choose the Gethsemane lifestyle know that life is truly found only in the continual relinquishing and dying of our rights.
Our repeated choice to die is actually what leads us into life.