I watched a military movie where several American soldiers from different branches of the military went to an area in Afghanistan to find a high level Al-Qaeda operative. While the team had a well thought out plan, they had an unexpected encounter: a father and his two sons herding goats.
Some of the soldiers wanted to kill the family, which goes against all the negotiated rules of warfare. The leader of the small ‘squadron’ opted to follow the ‘rules’ and let the family go.
The oldest son, who by the looks of his face, hated Americans and reported the soldiers location to the insurgents as soon he got back to his village.
Before the American soldiers could take cover high on the hillside, their small team was surrounded by insurgents who out numbered them by at least five to one.
Watching this movie reminded me of my time post active duty in the Army. I did deploy to an area in the region called Uzbekistan (area north of Afghanistan), but it was not nearly as hostile as the areas some of my counterparts where sent. But during this deployment with my comrades, a very traumatic event happened in my life and I came back to the states. The event, coupled with shipping off right after graduating from college, left scars and memories that shook me to my core.
For years after this period in my life, I refused to watch military movies because they would only make me cry. I hated the conditions soldiers had to fight in. I despised how soldiers often ran into battle, putting their life in danger with a sub-par leader and team and no clear objective. Let’s not mention some of the ‘causes’ they were fighting for. Watching war movies was like a flash back to those days and I would begin to tremble, wondering what new bad thing was going to happen in my life.
Thank God, I was delivered from that oppressive spirit!
But at the end of this movie, as it showed a clip of all the men who lost their lives during this small battle, I found myself in tears. Not because I slipped back into depression, but because people so quickly lay their life down for things that really don’t matter…not when you know. I turned to God and prayed:
Lord, we have so many men, women, and children.. 18 year old teenagers willing to die for the United State of American, but God, how many men are willing to die for you? How many women are willing to die for you? How many people are willing to go on the front-lines for you? To stand and say, “I am a child of God, and I am not ashamed of it!”
But yet, we willing put ourselves on the front-lines for the military. How can we say country first!??! Before You?? When You are the giver of it all?
In the beginning, there was You. You created us and yet we are not willing to go on the front-line for You.
I can honestly say, I didn’t always lay my life down for God. I didn’t even want to! Sometimes I was upset with Him for things that I felt He should have just stepped in and fixed, regardless if I asked or not. Other times, He was just an inconvenience on me. I mean, I am young! Cut me some slack, God. Let me live a little.
In all my years of living a ‘saved’ life, it’s only now I have said to God: Take all of me! Take Everything! You’d think it would be easier to say this when there was only me, but there are five of us now and it’s as simple as that! Take it.
I actually recalled telling Him ‘no’ because I wasn’t ready to do what he asked of me. My exact words were, ‘Not now, Lord. I’m not ready.’ After saying that, I immediately regretted it because I had a brief feeling I’d just missed the biggest life changing event in my life. Notice I said briefly…life eventually went on and I forgot about this event (it’s now a testimony I like to share). Just think what I could be doing now had I answered him properly! Had I laid my life down!
“Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” John 13:37
Peter seriously thought he could die for Jesus. In English, the word lay means to “to put something down”. In Greek, the word life in these verses means psuché, pronounced psoo-khay’. It is translated to mean the soul, life, or self.
So what does it mean to ‘lay your life down’ or be willing to die for Christ? I'm sure the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is a physical death. But looking at the untranslated Greek version of the word life, psuché, we can say that Peter, in all his heroism, was claiming he would die to self, or even physically die, for Christ. We know he loved Christ, but we also know this is easier said than done. Well, I, for one, know it is.
Christ, being all knowing, quickly refuted those words and let Peter know he definitely would NOT lay his psuché down for Christ (I like to say he rebuked him).
“Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” John 13:38
Christ knew he was speaking out the ‘side of his mouth’, although I am sure Peter’s intentions were well. It is much easier to die than to lay your life down, day after day, because of a calling from Christ.
But one must be willing to put aside their self to for Christ. For instance, when I told God no so many years ago, I blatantly told Him I wouldn’t lay my life down. I didn’t want to change much in my life at that time. Things were good! Why mess up a good thing, so Lord, no. I will not lay my psuché down.
But I declare now: Lord, my psuché - life, soul, whole being, my very breath - is yours. I am willing to die to self for Your glory.
Keiyia JOYet George
Artwork designed by my children.
Have you had moments in life when you told God no and later regretted it? Are you willing to rededicate your psuché to God? Are you ready to say yes? Are you ready to give it all? Have you submitted fully to His will? Leave a comment below. I’m sure your words and testimony will be uplifting and encouraging to someone who may be on the fence of what to do.