We've all been through stuff. Hard stuff that makes our hearts sick and makes us feel like the world is going to crash in around us. We all struggle. Some of us are struggling this moment and some of us have just come through the fires of struggle and are finally on the other side. Nobody has it all together - it's just some of us are better at pretending than others.
Whether it be childhood abuse, addiction, rejection, divorce, or whatever else your struggles in life have been - you can empathize with those who are going through those same struggles. Maybe you're in a struggle with God right now. Is He asking you to give something up that you don't want to let go of? I've been there.
If you are in the middle of a struggle, just know you are not alone. And if you've been healed by God either physically, emotionally or spiritually, maybe the Lord helped you to overcome those trials and struggles for such a time as this? We have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ here on earth - to allow Him to live through us as we reach out to those around us who are hurting and feeling hopeless.
It's a privilege to be used by God for this purpose. With this privilege of being Christ's hands and feet, we cannot lose sight of something very important: The hands and feet of Jesus Christ were pierced on the cross. When we look at the Greek word for pierced, we find the word nyusso, which means "to pierce through, often of severe or deadly wounds given one". Our severe and seemingly deadly wounds have been nailed to the cross and our new lives reflect the same resurrection power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead! We are a new creation, created to do good works in Christ which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)
Some of us want to follow Christ with all of our heart, but like the rich young ruler in Luke 18, when Jesus asks us to let go of the things we think matter the most to us, we refuse to do it. We think we cannot live without those things in our life. And it pierces our hearts to imagine letting go of something we consider to be so important and think God is unreasonable for asking us to let go. I remember when He asked me to let go of alcohol. I thought it was unreasonable and ridiculous. But when I finally surrendered it to Him and let go of that stronghold in my life and allowed Him to heal me of that addiction, I finally experienced the freedom I so desperately craved in my life. But it was hard, I'm not gonna lie.
Are you feeling pierced today? I want to encourage you to read John 19-20. John 19 is the dark, frightening time in Jesus' life when He was scourged, beaten, pierced, scoffed, whipped and ultimately crucified. Things looked bleak. All seemed lost. It seemed as if the enemy was winning. But then came John 20. Hope. Truth. Victory. Resurrection!
There is a "John 20 Moment" coming in your life - hang on and wait for the Lord. Resurrection is a beautiful thing - but death must precede it. This is not a physical death in our sense, but a spiritual one. We die to ourselves - to our lusts, our passions, our sinful hearts - in order for Him to resurrect us into our new life with our new heart, given by God in His mercy, which beats in us with His passions, His desires and His ways. What a beautiful gift!
Salvation is a free gift, given by the grace of God alone - but it does cost us something....our life. We often mistake this as a bad thing. But God's ways are so much better than ours! Those things we hold onto and think we cannot live without (though we know it is not in God's plan for us to keep holding onto them) are destroying us and keeping us from an intimate relationship with God. Let go, my friend. Trust Him. He knows what is best for you and He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Abundant life - that is what He has for you. But you must let go.
We must relinquish everything to Him - every part of our heart. Yes, it is painful - piercing to the heart, if you will. But remember our piercing is part of our story and our story is what God can use to reach out to a hurting, hopeless world. May we all have the courage to allow Him to pierce our souls with His truth, allow Him to pry our tightly gripping hands off of our unfulfilled lives and reach out to the world as a new creation, being His hands in feet to the nations in 2012!