I can’t explain why, but I always seem to have a propensity for doing things the hard way. I am infamous for botching new dessert recipes. Here’s how this plays out 99% of the time: In the morning, I decide I want to make this really complicated dessert for guests that we have coming over for dinner that evening. I scan through the ingredients, make my list, run to the store, get said ingredients and make it back home.
Let’s say my morning has unfolded as it normally does with toddlers melting down, goldfish as bribery and potty training accidents galore, so it’s about 1pm before I start the recipe. I finally read through the instructions and realize that this grand dessert I was planning to roll out for the evening needs to be refrigerated overnight. So, what do I do? I throw it together anyway, toss it in the freezer for a couple of hours and hope for the best. This is my M.O. I can’t even tell you how many times I have done this, yet I continue to torture myself with grandiose dessert plans at the spur of the moment.
That’s doing things the hard way because I’m not so smart.
But then, there’s doing things the hard way because it is smart.
In Jeremiah 29:13, God spoke to the exiled Israelites telling them this, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” When you long for someone with all your heart, do you not do everything in your power to try to get to them? It makes me think of Jacob in Genesis. He so longed for Rachael that he worked 7 years to earn her hand in marriage! That was hard!
But I bet if we were to ask Jacob today, he’d say that every ounce of that hard work poured into those 7 years was absolutely worth it. That’s doing something hard because it’s worth it.
It’s the same with our walk with Christ. Obedience can be hard. We only need to look at Jesus’ own words in Luke 9:23a:
“…’If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself…”
There’s more to that verse, but I want us to stop right here and consider the weight of these words; they’re easy to gloss over.
Denying ourselves means fighting our sin nature. Our sin nature screams, “It’s all about me! My delight! My satisfaction! My comfort!” It reminds me of the toddler screaming, “Mine, mine, mine!” That’s our sin nature.
When Jesus says that we are to deny that nature, He’s saying that we are to starve it, to refuse it and to deaden it.
This is much easier said than done because that sin nature rears its ugly head any opportunity it can. But here’s how we take back our desires of obedience to Christ: one act at a time.
It may seem small and insignificant to you, but any act of denial of our sin nature draws us closer to God and His heart.
So, what does it look like to do the hard thing and deny yourself?
It means extending extra grace to that co-worker. It means demonstrating patience to your moody teenager. It means getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to spend time with the Lord.
Doing hard things will look differently for all of us, but in doing so, it will align our hearts with the heart of God. And there’s no better place to be sister!
Day 3 Obedience Challenge: Decide on your one hard thing you will do and make a commitment to maintain the practice of your one hard thing for a full week.