By: Gabriela Yareliz
Sabbath has been awesome so far. We kicked off the Sabbath hours with the last night of The Grace Tour at the University of Florida.
Today, the focus of the talk was Luke 9:23:
“And he said to call, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'”
The words spoken by Jesus made me reflect. What does it mean to deny oneself? How many things do we do in life that distract us from what really matters? Jeremy Anderson said things that resonated with me, like: we really begin to live when we come to Him who gave us life and has designed a special purpose for us. It isn’t enough to exist and live foolishly. God invites us to live with purpose.
There are three steps: after self denial is taking one’s cross, and then, following Him. Jesus led a pretty revolutionary life. He was all about love, people and compassion. He is love, and He is mercy (those aren’t just attributes–these things define Him).
Part of the most beautiful moments in life are when you see God’s hand in your life, because then you not only see what grace and love are, but you experience them.
Love changes us, and I truly believe that anything good found in us is God’s goodness shining through us. Deep down, we are broken, selfish and confused, but love steps in to save us.
Love implies trust.
Love is not only kind, enduring and never failing, but it is patient, too. Love conquers all.
Tonight, as I thought about this past semester, I am so grateful. It was my toughest semester yet, but God helped me keep it together. I made a lot of changes, and I gave up a comfort zone that was killing my spirit softly. In my later, chosen discomfort, I found unexpected blessings. God answered so many prayers: from grades (I spent the majority of the time in one of my classes feeling like I was learning Chinese, and I completed it successfully, thank God) to requests for peace. I thought about everything that is still unknown down the path, and how in life we need to recognize God for who He is and allow Him to be God in our lives. As an older sister and an independent person, sometimes I can take the leader role a little too seriously, yet in the midst of lessons and disappointments that later turn into blessings, the fog begins to fade, and I always learn more about myself. I see how God works with me and on me; He meets me right where I am. I see my pride, ambition and annoyingness shine through.
In the stillness of seeing myself as I am, I see His love and His little signs that always show me He is there, and He hasn’t missed a beat. I see how His love has transformed me and continues healing me. I see how love is patient, and I am glad it continues to be patient with me.
God wants our obedience and trust. He wants us to have joy and life in abundance. He doesn’t want us to be slaves to anything, and His perfect love drives out all fear. He wants our minds clear, and our hearts full. He wants our hands out; embracing, clothing, healing, comforting and loving.
To be properly filled, a cup should be empty; denying oneself. To be useful, a cup should hold the water inside; bearing one’s cross. To fulfill its purpose, a cup must be obedient to the hand that holds it, the water will flow, and there will be no more thirst; follow Him.