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Freedom in Christ-Consumption
Christ will teach us how to honor God in Spirit, in truth and in wholehearted dedication as He causes us to leave our old selves behind.
We are so enamored with ourselves that forgetting about ourselves might seem impossible at first. Yet we trust in the Lord to accomplish every impossible thing on our behalf.
The conviction that with God anything is possible is meant to lead to our valiant action and our humble, lifelong obedience. How often, I wonder, do people really act on this conviction, that God does not need our contribution? No one can know this truth in earnest and at the same time have a stagnant or "dead" faith. To say that we have faith in the living God and yet in no way live out this faith, is like saying "Look at that living dead man!" or "That man is full of dead life." So also it is similarly impossible to have dead faith in Christ.
But Godliness remains elusive to those who would like to give themselves too much credit. Those who reserve even the tiniest scrap of credit for themselves will be led by pride to take their lives into their own hands.
This is a subtle perversion, but perversion nonetheless, to think that we deserve any credit at all. Any man who reserves even the slightest piece of his decaying old self will be led onward by that little piece to reserve for himself a portion of God's spotlight, all the while claiming to do so for God.
Therefore, because we are easily deceived, Christ requires total surrender, even to the point that we are dead to our old life and to the world in general. His fiery cleansing allows nothing to remain of our former life apart from Him, all of which amounts to a pile of stinking, Godless decay.
If we who follow Christ remain living, it is only because Christ continues to live in us. Therefore, if we strive toward maturity in Christ, we won't think to boast in the freedom of our wills or in our ability to try really hard. But, when we are all His, we will naturally boast only in Him, to whom we also delight to be enslaved.
There is unexpected power in being convinced that Christ is divinely sufficient for us. That's what faith in Christ is. And this faith functions powerfully because He makes it powerful.
Surrendering to Christ leads to knowing God, purity, faith and every other heavenly asset that exceeds our earthbound imaginations. God's grace thoroughly consumes people to the point that they are finally able to live, act and speak for the right reasons. When we are all Christ's and not at all our own, He accomplishes all kinds of things that were impossible for us before.
In this way, let it be common sense that salvation in Christ affects our whole lives, like a tree that grows well because of the good soil from which it grows. For this reason, God designed for us to continually dwell in Christ and to remain wholeheartedly devoted to Him all day long.
A Christ-consumed person has a revolutionary effect on his or her surroundings without having to try very hard. Such is the effect of any extension of the Life Himself when he or she comes in contact with this dying, decaying world.
We should also be encouraged that obedience to Christ spills over into everyday, ordinary things. He is Lord over a regular, working-class people.
God's kingdom must apply to the regular lives of ordinary people, or else His grace is not grace. Either the kingdom of heaven applies to everyday people, or else there is no hope for anyone, because all people are everyday people.
God purposed that Godly living should apply to everyday things because He designed people to live one day at a time. He will teach us how to apply Godliness to daily concerns because He saves us for this specific purpose. This is His idea, so He'll see out it to the end.
Christ is not distant from our everyday life. If He is Lord over our eternal wellbeing, then it is a small thing to look after our day-to-day existence.
Christ's Presence in our everyday business will affect average onlookers more powerfully than any amount of rehearsed conversation or churchy, special events. Christ as Lord over regular people's lives will strike a chord with this world full of regular people.
Going to work, fixing the roof, paying the bills, walking the dog and spending time with the in-laws are the things that regular people think about. For us who follow Christ, He is Lord over all these things. In this way we will fellowship with Him and with each other as we carry out our collective, everyday faith.
As we continue to fall down prostrate in the Lord's Presence, surrendering ourselves over to Him before we try to do anything, He will teach us how to get up go about our daily business. The goal of this faith-race is to no longer distract ourselves or other people, but rather to strive toward total Christ-consumption.
Therefore, our role in manifesting God to a Godless world comprises of becoming less so that He might be more in and through us. Our goal is to no longer obstruct the world's clear view of God in Christ.
How can this be, that Christ uses invisible people to make Himself visible? Ultimately, you'll have to ask Him yourself. He is the exclusive Purveyor of God-sized mystery.
This is a trustworthy statement, that by subjecting ourselves to God's ways (though they seem foolish to our flesh) we will be subjecting ourselves to all the infinite possibilities of the Omnipotent Lord of All.
by Patrick Roberts
This is an excerpt from To the Church of the West, Scattered Throughout the World. Find this book and similar articles at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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