How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Altar

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Actually that title is a bit misleading.  I don’t know actually how it happened, but at some point (or possibly over the process of reaching many points) I learned that the scripture is as true for me as it has been throughout history…

Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

It shouldn’t surprise me that He’s right.  The more I lay down my life and submit it to God’s authority, the more I can truly live.  There’s an amazing freedom to be found in submission to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

If I were to be totally honest with myself, I’d have to admit what others could see from a distance…that I have a natural tendency to want to defend myself, and my position.  This tendency has gotten me into more hot water over the years than I care to recall.  Needless to say, I sometimes find it difficult to follow Jesus’ example and keep silent in the face of accusation.  But sometimes that is exactly the remedy for me.  Maybe it doesn’t cause my own kind of justice to be served…but it definitely causes my flesh to die and welcomes the Holy Spirit to reign in me.  Which is what I asked for in the first place, come to think of it.

Don’t get me wrong – there is a time to speak up and speak out, but we often get mixed up about which times are appropriate for such a voice.  Instead of defending ourselves, and our own positions, we should be contending for the gospel.  Instead of screaming, “I’m right, and you know it!” we need to be seeking out, uncovering and promulgating Truth.  Instead of holding up right and wrong as proof of our own justification, we ought to be using Love as a canvas and grace as our medium, that the world might see the beauty of Jesus.

One day I just stopped fretting about how much it hurts to be cut open with all my faults laid bare before God without the comfort of anesthetic.  I began to welcome the process, because what was taken out was ugly and weighty, and what He replaced it with was beautiful and easy to bear.

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Tami Hoban is a singer, songwriter, worship leader and far-too-occasional blogger.  She and her husband planted Church in the Word in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where they reside with their three (and one-on-the-way) spudlings.  She’s also the creator and co-author of WorshipChicks.com.  Find her on Twitter: twitter.com/tamipants, and at WorshipChicks.com

  • Leah Stockholm

    Tami,
    You are so right about contending for the gospel! I have never really thought about it that way but now it really has changed the way I am looking at things. Thank you

    • Awesome, Leah! God certainly has a way of taking our every paradigm and turning it on its head, hasn’t he? Love that.

      The bible is the true measure of truth, though our own opinions and traditions do stealthily vie for that position.

  • Great post Tami, definitely stuff that I need to remember. The part about the desire to defend ourselves is both convicting and encouraging. 😀

    -Shane

    • Thanks, Shane. I’m glad it was an encouragement to you. We all wrestle with the flesh – won’t it be fantastic when we don’t have to worry about that anymore? Wow.

  • “Instead of holding up right and wrong as proof of our own justification, we ought to be using Love as a canvas and grace as our medium, that the world might see the beauty of Jesus.”

    Beautifully stated. Thank you.

  • Sarah Houghton

    Tami, you are TOO clever :O)nThanks for sharing, I thought it was awesome!nSo hard to fight the urge to defend myself, but your story sounded so familiar when you said you defend yourself and it tends to get you into hot water . . . ah the challenges!nXoXo