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Loss of Self

It could hardly be called a ”battle”. At least not at first. Marching around in circles in full armor for six days looking like they were confused. Then, after doing that one more day, blowing on horns and then yelling. It seemed like more of a parade than a battle. And then something amazing happened. The mighty wall fell. Just like that. Crumbled. And then the real battle began as the city inside the wall was completely destroyed. All the people, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. Not a single person was left alive with the exception of a prostitute and her family. The loss of an entire city in such a brief and violent way was the way that God handled the sin of the city of Jericho in Joshua 6. The chapter starts with God telling Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” This was before anything even happened! He knew what would follow. God then gives some of the strangest instructions we might have ever read for an army. But Joshua knew that this great loss of men, women, and children was going to lead to something that was greater than his understanding. 

Sometimes loss or defeat seem confusing and overwhelming. We see it everyday if we watch the news or tune into social media. We read of earthquakes, fires, murder, war, and other attrocities that happen. Sometimes these things seem so far away. Other times they hit close to home. There is not a person in this world that hasn’t faced loss in one form or another. For me, the greatest loss that I have faced was loss of knowing who I am. For years, I just went through the motions of church. 

It was religion, not worship. 

It was habit, not holy.

I am certainly not saying that I am perfect and in tune with what God wants me to do all the time. I still wander away from time to time and have to find my way back. But the time I am talking about was different. I was at a complete loss to know how to even approach God’s throne or call myself his daughter. For a while I convinced myself that I didn’t care and that it didn’t matter, but it did. And certainly from the outside, no one would have known how deep my loss went. But one day, my wall fell. Just like the wall in Jericho. The only survivor was the little girl inside that Jesus had been calling too. As sinful as Rahab the prostitute. As devastated as if my entire world had just been burned to the ground. And to be honest, just like Jericho, I couldn’t even put up a fight. When Jesus breaks open that rock hard heart there is no resisting his spirit. (Hallelujah!)

After Joshua and his army had finished with the broken city of Jericho, we read in Joshua 6:27, “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.” I am sure that was pretty awesome. To be famous throughout the land. But I don’t think that is why Joshua obeyed God. It had to do with the expansion of God’s kingdom, His people, and His plan. The same can be said for us. When we are willing to take the loss of self and surrender to Him, we get to be involved in an expansion of His kingdom. What better work could there be? 

That kingdom expansion can include your spouse who might not have a strong faith, your children, your parents, your friends, and your co-workers. It can also include the tired barista you just ordered coffee from, or the depressed cashier at the grocery store, or the homeless family huddled together at the intersection. God’s expansion doesn’t always look clear and make sense to us. Just like Joshua, we are told that HE has already won and we are to obey. We have to be in tune with the spirit and ready to listen to the seemingly insane instructions from him. 

You want me to WHAT? I am not so sure God. I don’t know what to say. You are in good company, sister. Neither did Moses. (Exodus 3:10-14)

But God, I have never done that before! I don’t know how to! Guess what? Neither did Mary when she was told she was going to give birth to and raise the Messiah. (Matthew 1:18-25)

But if I do that, Lord, won’t I get in trouble or lose friends? His disciples left EVERYTHING and followed him in a moment. I can imagine they had trouble and loss based on that decision. (Matthew 4:18-20)

God calls us to lose ourselves so that he can expand His kingdom, His love, and His salvation in this broken world. That prostitute that watched the loss of her entire city? God used her for expansion. She became part of the bloodline that we trace to Jesus. That broken girl that thought she could never find her way back to the throne? She is still allowing God to work. But she knows now that loss leads to amazing expansion in Him and she is excited to see what He is calling her to do in the future. 

Friends, allow yourself to be lost in Him so that he can expand your vision to include His. His way is so much better.

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