As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Luke 9:57-58 (ESV)
Men look to build for themselves their own sense of purpose; but God wants to take His own beyond this vain paradigm to walk in the lively substance of He who is the very purpose. A man’s hopes of success or earthly blessing will not get him through the onslaught of the Devil when he with heaven’s approval tears every hope and dream into pieces. And then, what will that poor soul do? How long will he shake his fist at God? Not even the prospect of the grave shall give that man solace thereafter, though he wished it would; for he has digged it far too shallow.
“But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.” (Lam 3:32) To be raised up most fully into the heavens, one must pass most fully through the blackness of death itself. The cross’s work is not finished for a man until it has begun finishing the man. One must be being crucified to find the resurrection Life of Christ, leaving behind the trivialities of man’s self-defined purposes. One must walk through hell’s onslaught, through the terrors of death itself; holding fast the Spirit’s flame before the cold black stare of Satan’s nothingness. A man’s sense of purpose is only as good as his ability to keep it; but if he would go up to deeper and higher places with God, God’s depths and heights will demand of the man its demise: for the kingdom of God is where men and their own aspirations go to die.
And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 (ESV)
God in Christ brings us into His purpose by bringing us beyond ourselves – if only we will allow His death to be ours in this life daily; so that His very Life might reign in us, and consequently, we in His Life. God Himself must become our only means to His only ends; our only vision and our only Hope beyond hope. If you have another plan, may God shatter it beyond repair! O, let nothing be of any use to us but the keeping of the presence of God with us! It costs absolutely everything else; but there is no other way. Only then are we no longer entrapped in this world by the selfishness of seeking our own things; only then are we sufficiently broken vessels to pour forth the sweet aroma of Christ’s work for the glory of God alone.
Obedience to God as the means of finding our own sense of purpose is idolatry. His ministration will not be mocked even by what men call “ministries.” But obedience to God because He is worthy is its own reward to the humble; for it is the power of God moving within a man beyond that man’s capabilities, and it is the Spirit of God unhindered even by a man’s most seemingly pious desires. It is the legacy of those who have counted all as loss; it is the result of men reaching the end of their own rope, and finally letting go.
There is nothing more embittering than the anguish of defeat and loss without purpose. But there is nothing sweeter to the soul than the continual repentance whose heavenly joy is birthed by God’s own hand through said anguish; which finds strength beyond strength in the admittance of defeat; whose purpose is wrapped up in the mystery of Godliness at the willing loss of all else.
Let this mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus.