Cars, semis, pick-up trucks, and motorcycles zipped around us in a game of Russian roulette. At least, that’s how Atlanta traffic feels to me. Yet, to our far left, the cars glided with ease at great velocity, speeding out of sight, unhindered by the weaving, honking, frustrated drivers around us.
“What’s that lane?” our new driver in the family, Sarah, inquired.
“The Palmetto Pass Lane,” her father said. “You pay a fee that gives you permission to travel down that lane.”
As my husband spoke the words, another voice echoed in my head, “Daughter, all My children travel in different lanes as well.”
“What?” I thought. “Aren’t we all on the same playing field. You don’t have favorites, and we aren’t supposed to work for our salvation.”
The voice was quiet for a minute and then continued. “Some are willing to pay a price to be in the fast lane with Me.” I waited for an explanation, but none came until my quiet time the next day.
I can’t really take credit for the following conversation because I feel these words were coming straight from His heart to mine. I will write more on this later, on hearing God, but for me, my quiet time normally consists of journaling the thoughts that I believe are coming from the Holy Spirit. I’d much rather listen to what I feel He has to say than voice my stuff to Him. I am a fallible vessel, as we all are, so I’m not writing this as a “Thus saith the Lord.” I will put it in the form of a letter, though, from the heart of Father God to His child.
Sometimes, I want you to travel in a special, fast lane. There is a price or cost to it. Not all are willing to pay that price. And I never force that on anyone.
Being in the fast lane does cost something. Intimacy costs something. It’s not a works-based effort. It’s a love-based effort. It’s not the servant slaving for the master to earn a piece of bread. It’s the son drawing closer to His Father and wanting to steward his inheritance well. A lazy, loafing son, though still a son, will not receive the same privileges as the obedient, diligent, faithful, loving son. There is a cost to intimacy.
To have intimacy with Me, you must be willing to lay down your comfort and come away with Me. Sometimes, it will cost you sleep to wait on Me and seek My face. This is different than seeking My hand. I’m longing for children who all they want is Me. This is a joy, not a work. You aren’t doing this as a religious act or duty, checking it off your list every day. This is a hunger and thirst for Me that can’t be filled anywhere else but in My presence.
You aren’t coming and seeking Me because you have to but because you want to.
For those willing to pay the price of intimacy, by laying down their time, their comfort, their agendas, their lives, there is a great reward awaiting them. I do elevate those who have come after Me in the secret place, who are content sitting at My feet and learning from Me.
The early church went through great suffering as many still are going through today. They were martyred for their faith, not their works. They didn’t love their lives unto death. They were willing to give up what they couldn’t keep to buy what they could never lose.
I didn’t steal, kill, or destroy their lives. That is always the work of the enemy. I always come to give you life, light, healing. I am not an evil God demanding you sacrifice all you have to earn something from Me. I am good. Evil spirits demand sacrifices. That’s not Me.
I’ve always longed for friendships, intimacy, and relationships with My children. When I say, “Are you willing to give up everything and follow Me?” it’s not a works-based question. It’s a heart-based question. Is there anything in your life more important or valuable than Me?
The rich, young ruler held on to the things that he possessed here. He only saw what I was asking him to give up. The request was not works-based. It was about his heart position.
He had already “worked” as perfectly as he knew how, every commandment checked off his list twice. He was an obedient servant, but he had not entered son-ship. The things he owned, owned him.
He stood before Me blind yet didn’t know it. He was so blind he could not discern that the greatest treasure stood face to face with him. I knew what was in his heart. His riches had his heart. That’s where his security, sense of well-being, and social status came from. He was a slave to his wallet. If he had only seen the greatest treasure in front of him, he would have been eternally rich in Me, lacking no good thing.
This is what it means to pick up your cross and follow Me, even to die daily. It’s not about what you do right or wrong or check off your list but about your heart position, about being a son/daughter who is in an intimate relationship with his/her father, living out of that position, delegating My Kingdom from heavenly realms to Earth.
This is why, when the early church laid down their lives in martyrdom, they did so in victory, in joy, in love. It wasn’t some duty. They, joyful from intimacy, saw the treasure before them, ME, was far greater than their temporary, decaying life here. Martyrdom wasn’t the goal, but if it was asked of them, they gladly endured it for the joy set before them.
I am a good, good Father, giving good gifts to My children, and My goodness follows after you for generations. Come, come away with Me. Seek the greatest treasure.
As I sat on the screened-in porch with the early morning ray of sun bursting through the limbs of the ancient oak tree, I pondered the things He had just said. Often, I roll over in bed and go back to sleep when He calls my name at 5:00 am (for the third time on my vacation), but when I stumble out of bed anyway, I find Him. I find Him waiting for me, speaking His truth to my heart. There has never been a time that the price has not been far worth it.
Sometimes, it has cost my dignity, like when He whispers, “Go speak to a stranger” and, even more, to pray for them. I have never wanted to go do that. I don’t want attention drawn to me, but when I have obeyed Him even when I thought, “This is crazy. What will other people think?” there has always been an encounter with the living God waiting for me that brought reward to me and also a blessing for someone else. Most of the time, the reward is simply more of Him. But honestly, what reward could ever be better? Maybe one day, it will cost the ultimate, my very life. I pray that if that day comes, I will joyfully lay it down for the Lover of my soul, not out of duty but out of loving intimacy.
So being in the fast lane with Him does cost something, but isn’t He worth it all?
This is an updated edition of a blog originally published on wholeheartedwomen.org
Featued Image by Jake Blucker