Luke 14:26-35, Philippians 3:7-11, 1 Peter 5:6-10, Isaiah 41:10, Ezekiel 47:3-5, Exodus 15:23-25

Heather Bellamy reflects on the journey of discipleship and intimacy with God

The Invitation

In February 2013 God spoke to me and said, "Take your hand off your life. Your life might not be what you want it to be." He then showed me a path of suffering with a cross at the start of it. I knew that was the path He had for me and that I was supposed to pick up the cross before stepping onto the path and then I would walk on the path carrying the cross. I also knew that what God was communicating to me was Luke 14:26-35.

The sense of suffering I saw on that path was terrible. Nothing in me wanted to embrace it. However because I love God so much, I couldn't bear the thought that He wanted something for my life that I wouldn't or couldn't accept and choose. I never want to be outside of His will; yet I had never faced having to say "yes" to God to something that nothing in me wanted.

It was therefore with great struggle that I somehow managed to get myself to the place of surrender and give Him my "yes" that night.

I have since walked the hardest year and a half of my life. I won't go into the detail, but God knew what was ahead when He showed me suffering.

Since February 2013 other key scriptures for me have been: Philippians 3:7-11, 1 Peter 5:6-10, Isaiah 41:10 and Ezekiel 47:3-5.

When we want to go deeper with God, we have to lose more of our own lives. We have to say goodbye to the things of this world. When we say to God that we want to go deeper with Him, He will respond and lead us into circumstances that circumcise our flesh and take things out of our hearts, so He can have first place, enabling us to come out deeper with Him.

At first this process is painful - we don't want to let go and lots of dross will come to the surface to be dealt with by the Holy Spirit. However as we make decision after decision to surrender and have those things we treasured taken out of our hearts, we become free to a greater measure to follow Him as His disciple and be conformed to His will and not our will, in all our circumstances.

As the scriptures say, God is looking for disciples who love Him more than every family member, our own lives and all of our possessions. That is the definition of a disciple - not a super saint - just a simple, ordinary disciple.

Each death we endure, brings us into our next resurrection and our hearts cry echoes that of Paul when he said in Philippians 3:7-11:

'But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake.

Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),

And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].'

As we mature through this process, we are able to surrender more quickly to His will, because we are so utterly convinced of His goodness and trustworthiness. We are able to worship Him in the worst of places and so make room for Him to come with His grace to help us.