Shades of orange, yellow and red fill the trees outside my window. I love living in this mountain town. Beautiful hues on display around me remind me of a paintbrush and palette in the hands of the Artist. I can see Him smiling as He brushes the colors of fall onto the canvas of these mountains. He delights in creating beauty.
Trees preparing for rest, shut down their food making factories. Leaves once a vibrant green now turn to shades of brilliant color. As the green chlorophyll fades away, the hues that have always been there hidden, begin to burst out. Exquisite beauty is seen as the leaves prepare to die.
I never thought I would see beauty unfold in my life. All I could see was the pain and death that surrounded me. For the wages of sin is death. There had been plenty of sin throughout my life, leaving what felt like insurmountable wages. How could it be that Christ came to set me free, yet I still felt the shackles of sin and death? No matter how much I performed to please Him I was still left with the questions. Am I enough?
Why is it that if I had been crucified with Christ, I still lived. I remember a friend saying to me, “you are dead in Christ”. My response was, “yes and I am going to be the best dead person I can be.” She said, “Julie, there’s something wrong with that statement.” I was so steeped in performance that I had no idea that I still lived. He knew I was stuck so He invited me to enter into His death.
When Papa God invited me into the desert He knew that death awaited me. I must die so that Christ could live. As long as I lived my life in my own ability, stuck in the "old man" identity, Christ’s life wasn’t going to be lived through me.
We hear alot about independence in this day and age. We're told it's up to us and what we must do. We as people need; sort of. As long as we can handle it we do. When we get to a place where we can’t figure it out, it’s then we cry out in need. We live our lives as competent people who call on their God when life gets unmanageable. It’s not what He desired. It’s not what Jesus displayed. Why is it we tend to live independently when Christ lived dependently? If I live my life on my own isn’t it an indication that somewhere His life is not being lived through me? We have reduced relationship with God to requirements. We must earn our keep, to prove our love. Doesn't that somehow in the midst make life about me and what I can and will do? If my life with God is based on requirements won't that somehow stifle the relationship?
God made His Son to need Him. He made the whole earth to need Him and many of us do, to an extent. I say I want to live for Him, to know Him. Do I realize that to know Him, means I die to me, my ability, my strength, my wisdom, and even my perspective of who I think I am. I am crucified with Christ, yet I no longer live, but Christ now lives in me. Does my life really reflect that?
The leaves of fall depict this lesson of life. As they begin to die, the beauty that’s stored inside them emerges. It was there all along, though unseen. Nature paints a picture of life. The colors of Christ in who He made me to be will break forth in stunning beauty as who I used to be dies. I am a new creation in Christ, the old has gone, the new has come.
Life no longer has to be about me and what I can do. It can now be about Him and what He will do. He came that I might have life, and have it to the full. As I am emptied, the brilliant, full life of Christ unfolds in me. It’s quite the paradox, really. In losing my life I gain it. I become who He made me to be.
Feeling His beauty spill out of me is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Every time He lives out of me, I am undone. He fills me up unlike anything I have ever known. The beauty of Him in me, takes my breath away. For it is in this place I have come to see, it's not up to me. I can need. I can be incapable. I no longer need to perform or strive. He has come to set me free. The paradox of God is; as I lose my life I gain His. I am free to be me, knowing it's not up to me. It is His life lived in me. That my friends, is life to the full.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
What about you? How dead are you? Does His life lived out in you take your breath away?
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. II Corinthians 4:11
©copyright: 2008 Julie L. Todd