Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dying to Self

C.S. Lewis stated that the more you surrender yourself to Christ, the more you will have a true self. It is crazy that we are called to give up everything so that, for the first time, we will have something. What we hold dear is fleeting, and when we give up that junk, God gives us something that counts. It’s strange that God takes away our mess to give us His good. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A similar idea is found in our salvation. When we come to the knowledge of our sin and our need for God’s grace, when realize the utter trash that we’ve made of our lives, that is where we will find that God treasures us. It is when we are humiliated and exhausted that we see how we can be fulfilled in Christ. It is when we understand how poor we are and how little we have to offer that God reveals how much he prizes us as His children. We should always be in a state of desperation for His fellowship. God loves when we are in the valley and have no choice but to rely entirely on Him. 
Just realizing our need of Him isn’t enough. There still poses a problem to our acceptance by Him. We still are sinful by nature. For there to be a change in lifestyle, he has to re-do everything that we’ve messed up. He empties us. He strips away everything that has belonged to our flesh and brings us to the point of total dependence. It is important to know that he doesn’t leave us empty, He fills us with something that counts. He doesn’t use what we have, he transforms us into the likeness of His Son. Sure we struggle with sin throughout our Christian walk, but that is because we have done nothing but sin since our first breaths. God, through the comforting rod and staff of the Holy Spirit, teaches us to walk in His ways. It is when we are walking in accordance with the Spirit that we are living as we were meant to live, in communion and fellowship with God. 
When I look at the Cross, I see, not only the ultimate act of love, but also the most unfair trade of all time. It is like God didn’t know how bad He was getting ripped off. Here’s the trade:  our sin exchanged, through Christ, for His righteousness, our condemnation exchanged, through grace, for His glorification, our Adamic nature exchanged, through salvation, for His perfect nature, our heart of stone exchanged, through the Breath of Life, for a heart of flesh. The fulcrum of this trade is the Cross of Christ. That is why Christ said, “It is finished.” He’s saying, “Deal.” This ultimate act of love is Christ giving up His life so that we would have the opportunity to live. His perfection for our imperfection. He received the wrath that we deserved. God treated Jesus, on the Cross, as if He lived my life, but he treats me as if I lived Jesus’s life. He traded his unity and communion with the Father, so that we may enter into the Marvelous Light. On the Cross, Jesus cries out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” This is the only time that He doesn’t address God as “Father.” The Father/Son relationship was broken. But when He said, “It is finished,” the atonement was made. The relationship was reestablished. He then addresses God as Father, “Father, into Your hands, I commend My spirit.”
I hope you have seen that we didn’t deserve God’s sacrifice. We are sinful. We are so bad that God had to send His Son to die for us; but we are so loved that He was glad to do it. So before you walk out the door and try to show the world how great of a person you are, you need to understand that you’re’re forgiven. It is understood that we are all sinners and in desperate need of God’s grace. We are all on the same level and, unfortunately, that level is the bottom level.