“Die to pride, die to self, die to agendas, die to comfort, die to ease–and your life explodes with abundant life. Unexpectedly, the secret to abundance is not about self–but about dying to self.”
Learning to love as Christ my Lord has loved me, has been a constant battle between my flesh and my spirit. My flesh fights with flashing swords to defend, demand, protect, and pursue my own way. The Holy Spirit whispers peace and calm into my heart when circumstances rattle my reality and words cut me to the core. When my flesh fails me, leaving me empty with its efforts to love conditionally, the Holy Spirit bids me to love in the shape of a cross. And it’s there I find abundance.
In Ann Voskamp’s devotional, The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life she refers to this kind of love as living cruciform.
“The greatest truths always are the greatest paradox. And what could be a greater paradox than this? Out of feeling lavishly loved by God, one can break and give away that lavish love–and know the complete fullness of love. The miracle happens in the breaking.”
We could all probably trace the trail of brokenness that has shattered our hearts. Perhaps that pain has left us afraid of being broken. Ann Voskamp’s writing leads readers to think about how hardship causes us to press into God’s grace. That pressing produces the fragrant aroma of Christ in our lives as we rely on His abundant strength.
“I am what I love and I will love you like Jesus, because of Jesus, through the strength of Jesus. I will love when I’m not loved back. I will love when I’m hurt and disappointed and betrayed and inconvenienced and rejected. I simply will love–no expectations, no conditions, no demands. Love defies logic and keeps on loving when it makes no sense because that is what love does.”
I recently saw the movie Paul of Tarsus. Bound in chains, Paul struggles to survive floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger, and thirst. As he is held captive in Nero’s dark prison cell, he’s haunted by the sins of his past. Before Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he was on a mission to kill Christians. Now he risks his life to spread the same message of salvation he once killed others for. While lying in prison, he envisions every stone thrown at Stephen, moaning in pain from his own flogging, and prays—as if convincing himself, “Grace, your grace is sufficient enough.”
When we truly see the reality of our sin, we may struggle to accept the lavish grace bestowed upon us. But as Paul says, where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. (Romans 5:20)
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15
Have you ever felt like the worst of all sinners?
The prisoners in the movie try and get Paul to fight back and escape,
“They want revenge!”
“Love is the only way,” Paul says.
It’s amazing and humbling to think we are completely known and completely loved by God. We can’t hide our sins from him. He sees it all. And yet we are still completely loved by God. He sees all the pain we’ve caused others, and his blood covers it all by his grace.His grace disarms us to love others. Click To Tweet
“Could this be what it means to live in the encircling embrace of communion: brokenness giving way to abundance–and then abundance, which is then broken and given…gives way to an even greater abundance?”
Some of the most fulfilling life experiences happen when the love of God pours out through us. The times when consuming thoughts of self-are silenced because we hear and see and feel the pain of another, more than our own—as if it were our own.Oh Lord, help me care more about spreading your message of love than about getting love from others. Click To Tweet
“When our brokenness meets the brokenness of the world, don’t we enter into and taste the givenness of Christ? Somehow I wonder if it’s in shattered places, with broken people, we are most near the broken heart of Christ.”
This 60-Day devotion draws from Ann Voskamp’s insights in her book, The Broken Way, and her soul-searching online blog.
“Jesus isn’t about just forming my mind; He’s about forming my heart to want what He wants. To love what He loves, to walk the Via Dolorosa, to take the broken way of abundance that He takes, to form my broken heart into self-giving, self-sacrificing, cruciform love like His abundant love.
This is not an easy way to love. But it is The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey into a Deeply Meaningful Life.
Read my review of The Broken Way here.