12/18/2013

I Turn Everything Over

My birthday was in October.

For me, it's become a time of year when I pause to reflect on my life. Typical questions that come to mind are: Did you accomplish what you wanted to in the past year? Did you make "progress"? Do you like who you are becoming? What changes need to be made for the coming year? Where do you want to go next? What's the plan to get there?

But this year was a little different. And it was all because of a number.

This year I turned 33.

What's the big deal about 33? It's just a number. What was I expecting to come after 32? 

33 was the age at which Jesus was crucified and, for me, that has always held a lot of meaning and expectation.

Growing up in the South, I've always been taught that age equals wisdom. (It also grants authority.) This cultural axiom also seeped into my faith. Since I knew that Jesus was in his thirties during most of his recorded ministry in the Gospels, I always thought "Oh, that's just an adult doing adult things." But this year, when I turned 33, I realized that Jesus was my age when he died for my sins.

And that realization stopped me in my tracks.

How could someone my age do something so significant?

After a few days of thinking (and praying) about it, I came to this conclusion: Jesus wasn't significant because he was older, he was significant because he lived a life totally submitted to God.

I know what you're thinking (because I thought it too). Yes, Jesus is the Son of God. So, you know, He had a leg up. But, even though that's true, He humbled Himself and became just like us.

By living in complete submission to God's will for Him (really, for everyone) He was able to accomplish exactly what God wanted for Him. How? By being in perfect relationship with God. You see, you can't be in a right relationship with God and try to be in control. That's not how it works.

One of the things I've learned over the past year is that submission is one of the most important parts of sanctification. One of the reasons is, at least for me, submission is a moving target. Here's what I mean: At age 33, there's still things that I'm learning about myself. I'm still discovering new things about me. So, even if I could ever get to a place where I was 100% (truly, I'd settle for mid-eighties) submitted to God, I'd just keep discovering new parts of me (my soul, my heart, my intellect) that need to come under His rule. I can never fully arrive because as I grow and change I continue to turn the new me over to Him.

And that's really my goal for this year. I want to continue doing the hard work of submitting to Him. It's only in doing that that I can accomplish my purpose in life.

Question: Is it easy for you to not be in control? Why?

1 comment:

Jeremy Hansard said...

Good thoughts, Bro. I can't stand not being in control - especially not knowing what is to come. And you're right, we'll always be finding another part of ourselves that needs to be submitted to God. No lazy cruising...