“To be or not to be.” God answered that question on the cross. He wants us “to be” conformed into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29).
34 Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD,
One of the favorite discipleship lines is to “take up our cross and follow Jesus.” It’s based upon Jesus’ declaration that anyone who would be His disciple must do that very thing, even daily (Luke 9:23). We also like to apply John 3:30 to our lives, “He must increase, I must decrease.” My pastor and I pray on Sunday mornings that Christ would hide us and exalt Himself through us. Obviously, I like that idea of getting out of the way and allowing God to work.
There’s more to it (there always is, right?), and it comes with another favorite verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, and behold, the new has come!” Here’s how it works:
- Christ lives in me;
- He is transforming me from the inside out;
- I interact with Him in new ways creating new works every day.
As much as I would like to, I can’t just “get out of the way and let Christ do it.” I am a partaker with Him in everything that pertains to me. If He wants to show kindness to someone, then He is going to work with me to show that kindness to that person. If He wants to bless a person financially, then He may work with me to bless that person financially. And so on. We never really ever get to jettison our self-will. That’s the part that we are to exercise every day, “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
The Sermon on the Mount is designed to teach us a more Christlike way. We model our lives after Christ even as He teaches us and empowers us to do that very thing. Consider this:
What does the Sermon on the Mount do?
The sermon systematically dismantles that old self, the false self, the Adam and Eve self, making room for the new self, the Christ-life, the new heart of Jesus in you.
The Jesus Walk impoverishes the ego, starves our cravings, and finally, detaches us from the craver itself. Indeed, “I am crucified with Christ” [Galatians 2:20].
The Sermon uses my perceived external enemies to defeat my real inner enemy. This is the genius of Grace…who relentlessly opposes all our resistance to Love, but because Grace IS Love, Grace awaits willing surrender rather than violating our will. Grace never gives up, but we set the pace. We decide when we’ve bottomed out on slavery to Self.*
Jesus doesn’t want to do away with us; He wants us to be the way we were originally created to be. Even then, we await the Day when we will be given glorified bodies. Then, we will know Him even as we are fully known now (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Abba, thank You for seeing worth in me. Thank You for wanting to be with me and to create with me. May I give myself over to You ever more willingly. Being like You is my End Game. Amen.
*from “A More Christlike Way,” by Brad Jersak pages 157-158