“Mom! Mom! You gotta see this!” my then-six-year-old daughter yelled through gasps of air. “Hurry! They’re everywhere! Tons of babies. We stepped on the mom and they went everywhere!” As I followed her out to the driveway, she explained that a huge spider had appeared in the middle of their chalk hopscotch game. “We screamed and stomped on it, and look what came out!”
It really was astonishing, not only from a six-year-old’s perspective, but my adult brain was also stunned by the enormous amount of tiny spiders that filled our driveway. All that life that the mother had been carrying was now running in multiple directions. I immediately identified with the dead mother and sadly said, “Oh, she died.” But then I put myself in the place of my young hopscotcher and realized that at her age I also would’ve been a stomper.
Years later I was walking through one of the hardest seasons of my life and God brought to my remembrance the death of that spider and all the life that came out of her. It seemed like every time I turned around, I was being asked to surrender all I had to God. Surrender my plans, my control, my dreams. As a pampered, drive-thru, hundreds-of-TV-channels American, I love my comfort zone. In fact, I go to great lengths to try and stay in a state of comfort.
How about you? My flesh wants what it wants when it wants it (and the quicker the better), but that is not the way the kingdom of God works. The Bible tells us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). “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.’”
Unlike the spider, God is not going to come over and stomp us until we surrender. No, He gives us complete freedom of choice. He asks us to choose Him just like He chose us and gave His life for us. He gently teaches us that with each area of our lives that we surrender to Him, those are the areas that truly thrive under His Fatherly care. This world continues to offer us opportunities to feed our flesh. Our flesh loves gossip, social media affirmation, gluttony, and the list goes on. When our flesh is leading, it is fun for a while but always leads us to dissatisfaction and emptiness. When I allow God to reign over my flesh, that is when I am truly living and feeling victorious.
Galatians 5:24: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Crucify . . . it seems so intense, doesn’t it? But when we kill our fleshly, self-centered dictatorship and we submit to God’s leadership in our lives, that’s when all the life-giving seeds we carry are released. Just like those baby spiders taking over the driveway. All the Godly ideas and attributes you carry are released as we surrender to His lordship.
How about all the people in your life that are affected when you let go of the reins and let Him lead? All the projects and life-giving words that are spoken when we have died to our flesh are just waiting to be set free, and they can cover much more ground than we can. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). At first dethroning and killing our flesh seems too difficult, but as we lay down our lives we begin to truly live.