The sermon yesterday was called, "It's Not About You".
I tend to forget this simple little fact. Especially when life is not going the way I think it ought. I needed the reminder.
Simply put, the pastor pointed out that taking up one's cross means dying to self which equates to the peace which surpasses all understanding. Well, that sounds good. So, why is it so hard?
"He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:25 NKJV
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of bondservant...and He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death..."Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV
That's the mind we're to be in. The mind which is willing to be of no reputation, the mind which will take the form of bondservant, and be humble enough to die to self. The Greek word for reputation means 'to make empty'. Wow. I empty myself of self so Christ can live within.
The pastor said that there is an outer shell to each of us which is our 'self' and inside is the Spirit. But often the Spirit is not witnessed by others through us because the shell covering of us is hard. We need to allow God to break that shell and then people can see Jesus rather than us. And we ought to allow this breaking happily.
And often, the best Christians do with this notion is create a religious hard shell. Rather than dying to self, we just become religious. Which is probably why the religious are not overly liked by the nonreligious. God still cannot be seen. Hey look at religious me! Oh, you want to see Jesus? Well, look at religious ME!
"I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I might gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness...that I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." Philippians 3:8-10 NKJV
The King James Version says, "I count it dung".
Yeah, I should count it such but really, I've been holding onto my petty desires in this life,well, pretty much my whole life.
2 Corinthians 4 says that we are jars of clay, "always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."
Always - that. Always - that. Daily. So that....
Sounds like there's a connection between Jesus within me and me dying to self.
Here it is point blank:
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me..." Galatians 2:20 NKJV
Sounds like total surrender. And many times, I don't even want to lose a stupid argument, let alone my whole life. He asks if I will give over my rights. If I will see that He has abundant life to give to me if I will just turn over my will. He doesn't say it will be easy. He knows it won't. But He knows it will be worth it.
Lord, I do not know what to ask of you; only you know what I need. I simply present myself to you; I open my heart to you. I have no other desire than to accomplish your will. Teach me to pray. Amen.