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Posts Tagged ‘dying to self’

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“…For whatever a man sows, that and only that is what he will reap.” Gal 6:8

A lot of insights I receive are first played out on the playing field of my life, through mistakes I am making.  I am indeed a rich source of fodder for the Lord to paint with, so to speak… to wit:

I am at various times impatient, or easily exasperated over what I perceive to be the insensibility or lack of consideration that people can demonstrate for others.  It registers in my thinking as general oblivion to the fact that other people exist. Of course ‘’”for others” is often code for “towards me” in particular.

It is true. I am unveiled here. I have been exposed, my true nature laid bare.  The latest exploit took place in the Wal-mart parking lot. The last TWO TIMES! (While the Wal-Mart parking lot may seem inconsequential to some, let me assure you it is rich with high drama and spiritual insight!)

First situation: I am parked in my normal location which allows for both car safety and built in life-exercise as it is roughly located in west green acres and I have to hoof it to the front door roughly 3/4 mi. When I return to the car a “foreign” (meaning not supposed to be there) car is parked perpendicular to me and right in front of me. Did I also mention I endeavor to NOT ever have to BACK UP in the said Wal-Mart parking lot because it is dangerous? There is an elderly couple siting in the car, the motor is running, they are talking on their phone. This is actually quite good because you don’t want them actually driving while holding their phone, but nevertheless as I look around I am annoyed. I survey the parking lot and there are at least 30 other acceptable options to park in similar ease and safety to discourse on their phone. But, it is my honor to have them before me. I back up, drive around them … but my thoughts are not profitable.

Second situation: Again at Wal-Mart, parked in same place actually. Return to car after shopping with granddaughter and have to unload cart and her.  An older, well-used car is parked right next to me but at an odd angle so that opening my door is nearly impossible, opening the passenger door behind me where I have to place my granddaughter in her booster seat and load the groceries will be challenging to say the least. I glance at the driver intently but say nothing. I get the groceries unloaded and close the door and again look to the driver. They are still talking but now looking up. I gesture ( not what you are thinking) quizzically, “Really?”

Instead of trying to shoe horn myself into the driver’s seat I opt instead to roll the cart back to the cart storage kiosk.  The driver takes that opportunity to drive away.

The Lord queries me, “What did you show forth Sandra?” I pull up out of my impatient musings, and I hear what He is asking.

“My flesh…,” my regret is sincere.  Immediately the words of a previous reading come back to me about, “to the merciful He will show mercy.” I realize something that has not been processed this same way previously.

At any given time there stand before me two choices: to show forth the Kingdom of God; or to show forth my flesh. To sow to the Spirit, or to sow to my flesh. To exercise the Kingdom, or to exercise my flesh. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

The Lord is exceedingly patient with Me, but in the time He is expecting to see change in Me He is very clear, and He is always working in a deeper swath pattern, making greater and greater inroads into me. I am being overturned. My old nature plowed under, like a field that has laid fallow and is being prepared for new planting.

But it is clear, what was acceptable for me in the last season is no longer tolerable today. The days of sowing decay and ruin can no longer stand! The Lord is calling for change in me, and His Body!

You see it is that clear a choice. It is not that these situations have had explicit interactions. Words were not exchanged in either situation, but communication did take place … and I fell short of His glory in both.

I have had to repent and renounce this attitude of my heart. In those moments I thought I was free to exercise my natural personality and consequential opinion.

But you see as saints of God, none of us are free to do that for we have been purchased with a price – we have been made His own! We are thus called to honor Him and bring glory to Him in our body, which is His Body (1Cor 6: 19-20).

Over two-thousand years ago He paid that price for us, and we celebrate that this coming Sunday, Resurrection Sunday!  Death had no hold on Him and neither death nor its attitudes or patterns of sowing should have a hold on us today … no longer! Are you ready for that?

Perfect Peace, Happy Easter,

Is 26:3

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Day Thirty-Two

 

Losing it — for His Sake

 

“For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses His life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death].”  Ampl Lk 9:24

 

 

          Let’s face it – as a culture we are gripped with preservation.  We expend vast quantities of time and dollars to find the product that will preserve our youth!  Whether through vitamins, skin care products, or exercising we fight to hold aging at bay.  We want to go faster, higher, more completely than ever before –personally, professionally, and certainly in a spiritual sense.  But the Lord of the universe puts a different face on things.  He tells us to “lose it – for His sake”.  Not lose it as in have a melt down.  His losing is foreign, unnatural to us.  He turns our understanding upside-down.  Losing it – what does it really mean?

          Think of the Cross of Christ – what function did it perform?  Simply – it was the agent of suffering, of physical breaking, and of death in Jesus’ life.  It was, from the Roman’s perception, a torture instrument but also a platform from which to control the masses through fear. 

          On the Cross, Christ lost His life – when He surrendered it – or gave it up.  He didn’t die from the effects of the Cross.  It would have required more time for Him to expire through its impact.  He literally gave up His life before the Cross took His life.  But profoundly, He gave up His life based on the plans and dictates of the Father.  It was the Father’s will that He should go to the Cross and suffer as He did.  It was the Father’s will to bruise Him and chastise Him for our sins. Thus, Jesus was perfectly fulfilling the Father’s will in His death – even as He had in His life.

          In the same way Jesus had “The Cross” – you and me – as members of His Body – we have a cross also.  While our crosses are not constructed of wood, they are however “constructed.”  They are designed to facilitate our deaths.  Not our physical death.  They are situations where choices arise.  At the moment they arise, I can either walk out my preferences (just as Jesus could have refused the Cross), or I can do what is the Father’s will.  To do His will however, I must deny myself, disown myself, forget, lose sight of myself and my own interests, refuse and give up myself.  It is in the choice of walking out the Father’s will in daily situations that we actually find our cross.  It is when I choose to travel the course which calls me to cleave steadfastly to Jesus, to conform wholly to His example in living and if need be dying also – that I experience my cross.  This is where I feel the cost – of dying to self.

          There are moorings, little anchors deep within us, where our soul attaches to our physical body.  Where the will of the soul engages the body, or conversely where the body and its appetites dictate (if allowed) to the soul.  It is here though – at their juncture, that the Lord desires the work of His cross to penetrate.  Where the Word of God (which is alive and full of power) is sent as a two-edged sword to pierce and penetrate to the dividing line of the soul and the spirit, and even of the joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature].  It thus exposes and sifts and analyses and judges the very thoughts and purposes of our hearts (Ampl. Heb 4:12). 

Where the Word of God touches us in this way, we are quite literally “undone.” We are freed from ourselves – from being enslaved to our will, or appetites, or desires, or motives – in short, from our old nature.  In the deepest place of our being – we are freed to be conformed to Christ.  Before – we could only be ourselves.  Now we can be truly His.

In this place – of “losing it for His sake”, we may not look very attractive.  Initially, we may even put up a fight until we realize the hand that we are so violently trying to throw off – is the Master’s hand.  But if we are ever to be truly His – in the deepest sense, we must daily embrace the cross that is ours.  We must lose our lives for His sake, then He will preserve it and save it – for then it will be fully hidden in Him!

Be-loved, be-freed, be HIS!

         

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Day Ten

Heed the Call to Simplicity

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  NKJV 2Cor 11:3

In the Garden of Eden, Satan baited Eve to doubt and disbelieve God’s intentions by posing questions to her.  Watchman Nee describes with great detail this attack in The Spiritual Man, and how this tactic was used to cause Eve to employ her mind to answer his questions.  Though we may not see it, the attack was a malicious and deliberate attempt to get Eve to stir up her soul (specifically her mind), so her soul would expand in its efforts of thinking and depart from under the rule of the spirit within her.  The spirit was the part of her, and Adam, that could commune with God.  To destroy the rule of their spirits was to destroy this fellowship with God.

Now, here, the Apostle Paul presents a warning so that a similar evil will be averted today by believers who possess a regenerated spirit in Christ.  He is warning that our minds may lead us into the very same corruption as Eve experienced, a corruption characterized by fleshly thinking and doing, and a dependence on our soul vice the spirit as it is moved and led by Christ.

If you are a believer in Christ you actually have two minds.  You have your natural mind that you were born with.  But through your regenerated spirit you also have the mind of Christ.  Romans chapter eight discusses this duality, especially verses 1-18.  May you study them and receive revelation!  But in very simple terms, imagine you are a dog-sled and that there are two different dogs that like to lead you (the sled).  One dog is the flesh dog, one is the spirit dog.  Depending on which dog is allowed to lead – that is the nature of the things he pursues.  The flesh dog pursues the things of the flesh and seeks to gratify those desires.  The spirit dog seeks those things of the spirit and seeks to gratify the desires of the spirit.

So essentially Paul is warning us to let the spirit dog always be the lead dog, and let the flesh dog die of boredom and non-use!  The importance of this is not to be minimized!  Your flesh dog – can never please God (Rom 8:8), and it will always lead you astray.  The profoundness of this notion is underscored by the meaning of “simplicity” in 2Cor 11:3.

This word simplicity is haplotes (#572) in the Strong’s Greek.  It means singleness, without dissimilation or self-seeking.  The word is also derived from (#573) haplous, which adds the aspect of a particle of union, and being folded together.

Our flesh is “self-seeking.”  Our spirit is Christ-seeking.  Paul’s admonition to pursue simplicity in effect means never be self-seeking, thus never flesh-led!  Further, to have union in Christ – to be folded together implies we seek the same things, have similar perspective, and have the same goal as Christ Jesus – thus be spirit-led, following the dictates of the spirit.  This is having the simplicity in Christ Jesus!  It is singular devotion that is pure and of one substance with Him.  It is uncorrupted.

The point is – once the enemy finds a strategy that works, he generally keeps running with it.  Getting Eve to rely on her mind (flesh) rather than remain dependent on the spirit worked in the Garden – so he sees no reason to change his playbook.  He believes it will cause you also to fall.  But for you – hear the words of Paul and do not allow the enemy’s tactics to succeed again!  Let the flesh dog die – surrender and renounce the use of your flesh.  Reckon yourselves as being dead to sin but alive to Him.  And yield/offer “yourselves” (all of your faculties and members – all of your soul) to Him as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6:13).  Be-loved …

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