“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” –Luke 23:43
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26 NLT)
As a child, Amy Carmichael wanted blue eyes rather than the brown eyes God gave her. She even prayed for God to change them for her. In her later years, Carmichael writes that she was able to minister in places where blue eyes would have likely hindered her; most notably, in her ministry to some of the most needy and forgotten in southern India, she was able to pass as a native to gain access to temples to rescue young girls from prostitution. Rather than fixating on how God did not bless her in the ways she would have preferred at the time—including a failed missionary sojourn to Japan and numerous illnesses—Amy Carmichael chose to live her life by following Jesus and giving up her own way.
In describing what it was like being a missionary, a role she held for fifty-five years, Carmichael wrote, “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” Set within the framework where we understand every follower of Christ is to be a missionary in their current context, this could be stated another way: Life in Christ is simply a chance to die. How are you dying today so that Christ might live within you?