But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:7-8).
Over the past two months I have come to love some songs never heard before then; these all on Stephanie Seefeldt’s Cradle & Cross album. One of these songs is Lay The Down, asks a sobering, convicting message to true followers of Christ. Lay Them Down, written and copyright by Jill Briscoe, 2010, is a song for the Christmas season but the call to allow Christ to be Lord of our all, including our goals, aspirations, desires, thoughts, everything is worthy of hearing daily.
Consider what Christ did for us; he came to earth, not as a king but as a servant, to give Himself for sinners, for you, for me. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich (2 Cor 8:9). Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:5-8). Lay Them Down asks a poignant question, are we better than Christ who suffered and gave Himself for us? Are we? Jesus gave us this. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Matt 10:38-39).
The author of Hebrews reminds us that Moses choose, through faith, to lay down his royalty in Egypt to follow God. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward (Heb 11:24-26).
The Apostle Paul wrote about giving his life for Christ, even at the expense of suffering. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18). I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil 4:12-13).
When we give our all to Christ He can then make us rich, make us strong. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor 12:5-10). We may miss some of the temporal good feelings when giving up the pursuit of personal things but Christ will grant us so more and above all, joy. Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:13). Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt , and where thieves break through and steal, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt , and where thieves do not break through nor steal (Matt 6:19-20).
Reflect on the glorious words about the birth and death of Christ and on each powerful question. I beseech you to do it again and again. We may both need to lay them down daily.
He came not trailing clouds of glory.
He came not wearing heaven’s crown.
He left behind His Father’s golden city
And chose as birthplace Bethlehem’s little town.
Equality with God was His by nature,
And worship by the angels was His right.
The honor due Him by His heavenly Father
He left to come and save us Christmas night.
So who am I to seek the world’s dim glory?
And who am I to fight for worldly crown?
What right have I to choose to work in city,
In rural country or in tinsel town?
And who am I to grasp some vain ambition?
Or who to choose a partner for my days?
Am I superior to the Christ who saved Me?
Do I have rights to keep or give away?
I’ll lay them down, I’ll lay them down,
And let Him be Lord of all I want to be.
I’ll lay them down, I’ll lay them down, and
Lay hold instead of all He wants for me!
You may hear a short clip of Lay Them Down here from Stephanie Seefeldt’s Cradle & Cross album. Links to purchase the song or entire album are available at http://www.stephanieseefeldt.com/StephanieSeefeldt/music.html.
Bible source: King James Version of the Holy Bible