Losing your life to find it
[ By: Maddie Ruelhemann ]
The last couple of years have seen shaking come to essentially anything that can be shaken, in both corporate societal and personal respects. The true foundations of our buildings have been tested and unearthed, and anything not built on the Rock has either fallen, or continues to shake uncertainly. The age-old urgency to consecrate our buildings to the foundation of the Rock – the only sure thing when every other sure thing surely fails, to quote a Hillsong song – remains.
Storms are inevitable. From the minute we enter this world as crying infants we are thrust into a dimension of descending rain, floods, and blowing winds; fear one minute, joy the next, ecstasy following that, pain, hope, despair – all in the space of, sometimes, one day. For this reason, we are continually going to be looking for a safe, sure place to anchor our souls. The heart of man will experience these storms and do whatever it needs to do, build whatever it needs to build – wherever it can build it – to get security, surety and safety.
This need for safety and security is completely legitimate, and this need is designed to be satisfied. But, often it is in the endeavour of attaining the remedy for our insecurity that we transgress from the plumbline and build our “safety” on what I call “counterfeit rocks” – crutches and coping mechanisms, which can also be defined, in stronger language, as idols.
We naturally gravitate towards things that make us feel good; a person, a substance, an experience, a relationship, a movie, a habit – insert your own idol there. All these things can be good in their own respects, but not when they serve as the foundation that only the Rock should. Jesus said the following…
- Matthew 7:24-27
We go about our lives trying to ease our pains and comfort ourselves with things that simply will never fully satisfy. In this vein, we are, in effect, idolising ourselves, our ways, and our habits like the rocks that they are not. I want to point out that there is compassion from the Lord for the “why” of our buildings – the reasons we seek comfort – our traumas, our griefs, our sorrows, and our needs. I will explain through a personal encounter.
I had a very moving dream last year in which I was a soldier in a war simulator. I remember being dressed in a field uniform, armed fully, and fighting in a war-torn village of unknown location. The atmosphere was very intense and risk-fraught, and as I ran out of the little shanty-style house I was hiding in, I found myself exposed on a desolate dirt road. I was very fearful and felt unsafe. It was at this time that I noticed a helmet in the middle of the bare road, and I instinctively knew that this helmet had belonged to a Soldier that had passed away heroically and sacrificially, on behalf of the army I was fighting with. The way I felt when I saw the helmet he once wore is challenging to describe. Take, for example, a world-famous cultural artefact like the Mona Lisa, a wonder of the world like Machu Picchu, or a natural spectacle like the Grand Canyon – things that people spend lifetimes dreaming of seeing, and flock from all over the world to witness. Imagine the wonderment, awe and reverence generated from experiencing these precious things; the helmet felt like all of that, and more. I knew it was like having found the holy grail – it was that indescribably valuable, and of unmeasurable worth.
The dream needs little to no interpretation. It is clear the Soldier was Jesus Himself, and this was His very own helmet that He Himself wore when He walked the earth, fighting the same good fight that each of us are now sent here to serve our post in. It says clearly in the Scripture that Jesus – Who was fully God and fully Man – had to LEARN OBEDIENCE through the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). In other words, Jesus had to regularly and consistently submit His will, govern His thoughts, and bring His inner world into obedience before the Father. The Word is clear, Jesus was fully God, yet fully a Man, yet tested in ALL POINTS, yet without transgression. This is why we have a High Priest who is not unable to sympathise with us in our weaknesses, our pains, our temptations, our crutches and our idols.
HOWEVER, this is not enabling, and a green light to remain filled with our own ways, holding tightly onto our structures and those things that help us cope. It is, instead, empowering to LEARN OBEDIENCE through the things which we suffer, knowing that Jesus too, had to consecrate His THOUGHTS and build on sure foundation. I felt, from the dream, that His helmet was so immensely and overwhelmingly precious and worthy, yet we treated it with carelessness and undervalued it radically.
We often cry out to the Lord for breakthrough from backslidden, idol-ridden places, thinking our liberation comes from something external, while Jesus was clear that the kingdom of Heaven will not come with observation but will go forth from within us. The onus is ON US. Again, this should not be discouraging, but radically empowering, because if the onus is on us to build well, to overcome, and to bring the manifestation of the kingdom of Heaven, we are clearly equipped with the weapons to achieve this – and the weapon of most pertinent focus, for the sake of this writing, is the Helmet of salvation.
The saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” has relevance here, and I believe wholeheartedly that building on the Rock begins with the stewardship of our thoughts. All issues of life flow from the inner man, and thus it would be highly beneficial to set this inner world in order, militantly, anchoring it to the Rock – Jesus – Who is the Word.
I don’t believe that there is anything that we get to steward more frequently, or more privately than the thoughts in our mind. I think that oftentimes we consider our thoughts – inner meditations, rumination and the likes – inconsequential, but the reality is that we are ALWAYS building something somewhere – and EVERY thought has ramifications. Every time you think a thought, you are either building your inner world into one of two places: the Rock, or another counterfeit foundation – there is no grey space or in-between.
In Jeremiah 17:9-10, the following is written:
This Scripture tells us the following; the heart is sick. It bares the brunt of life’s storms – the joy, the fear, the ecstasy, the sadness – the list goes on. It is deceitful, and it is crooked. It’s polluted by pain, and to offset this pain, it will seize you by the heel and trip you up by tethering you to crutches, idols and coping mechanisms that never fully satisfy and that only bring destruction when the storms come. The mind however, is designed to serve us like a pair of reins, providing control and governance, or furthermore, acting like the “kidney” of the inner world. The primary anatomical function of a kidney is to remove waste from the body. So, the mind, as designed by God, has the innate ability to remove waste from our inner worlds; taking every thought of detrimental building captive, and anchoring these frequent, private contemplations into the Rock that has kept consecrated men and women steady, sure and safe for ages and generations.
For some this might seem an invasive and consuming task, fully immersive, demanding obsessive effort, and requiring everything… yes, that is exactly so. That is losing your life to find it. The Lord commanded that the book of the Law should not even depart from Joshua’s mouth, and Jesus said that if we love Him, we will “keep” His Word. This word “keep” means to guard a thing, and never let it depart from your sight. The Bible commands that “every” thought is to be taken captive and brought into the obedience of Christ – there is no wiggle room in that. And don’t forget, Jesus had to go through this too, through the things which He suffered. He wore the same helmet.
In this culture of consumerism and instant gratification, revelation of hard work, building, and grind often lack. We wait for the next thing, and after that we want the next thing, and then after that the next thing, but we neglect to do the ancient, former things that we have been asked to do, wondering why we don’t have the results we want, and becoming discouraged. Jesus said that anyone who loses his life for His sake will find it, but anyone who tries to save his own life will lose it. As it is written in Psalm 40:2:
Your mire is worth leaving behind, your idols will never give you what you need, and your life is worth losing, because, in truth, unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone forever; you’ll never truly find your life anyway, if you don’t lay it down.
About Maddie Ruelhemann
Maddie has a strong musical gift and anointing to lead people in worship. She is an emerging prophetic voice, with a call to influence the governmental mountain. She is currently studying Politics and International Relations. Maddie serves on staff as Internship Coordinator at Field of Dreams Church in Adelaide, Australia. She also provides teaching, support and pastoral care in the internship program. Maddie has a call to the nations and has ministered in Australia, South America and Myanmar.