October 29, 2011

death to self, so that....some thoughts

the message of death to self has been central to historic Christianity.  all Christian traditions have emphasized this teaching.  Jesus dropped the first bomb on self, "If anyone would come after me, he must DENY HIMSELF, pick up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23) and later "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20) being perhaps the most concise verse expressing this teaching by the Apostle Paul.

I think that for the most part this teaching has fallen on hard times - being neglected, seldom taught and only rarely modeled. our culture promotes self at every level - and much of the Church is following the culture.  let's face it a strong emphasis on laying down our lives, denying ourselves, forgetting about our own "rights" and getting our focus off of our all important "feelings" isn't going to fill seats in the churches.  "self" is catered to all over the Body of Christ - to our detriment.

I've gone through seasons in my Christian life where I have gone after this message (or have tried to) and it seems that I haven't gotten very far.  Far from "it is no longer I who live..." self continues to be the biggest problem I see in my life.  I continue to live a "self-centered" life most of the time.

I didn't realize earlier that there was "purpose" in dying to self.  that wasn't emphasized in my tradition.  the "it is Christ who lives in me (lives through me)" wasn't really an expectation.  I didn't know what that would even look like.

i'm in that season again - death to self if something that I am going after again.  It truly is the door to everything else I long for in my Christian life.  self must get out of the way; it must be crucified, so that Christ can be manifested through my life.