Sometimes we think we know who we are because we think we want this or that for our life, even when it’s a religious something or other; however – the fact is that this may mean we’re seeing ourself according to or own small egocentric mind, instead of through the eyes of the Mind of Christ. We’ve mistaken function, role, or some identity we think we ought to have for who we really are.
But for what are we set apart (sanctified) by our Lord’s redemptive action?
“After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, ‘God has called me for this and for that,’ you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world.” —Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost For His Highest
Ouch! Some would say.
Terms of surrender are unconditional. This is what Christianity actually is supposed to look like basically – to be as Christ Jesus was in this world, completely under the Father’s authority, and therefore “in power” being about the Father’s business. No personal agenda involved. No privatization of interests. We are called out of darkness into His light – in every way.
For, you see, in the kingdom of God, everything is the opposite of how it is in the systems of the world: “power” consists in absolute humility and surrender. It means laying down one’s personalized life – ideas about what you think will make you happy – and instead taking up your cross and following Him.
This is the odd thing – that the very purpose for which we have been created is the thing we most often resist. We want instead the Cosmic Candy Dispenser God: put in your two cents worth to obtain the Milky Way. This is the New Age God of me, myself, and I. But it is certainly not the God of Jesus Christ.
This is so little understood, and the message itself seems to need restoration and revival. It also needs clarification and expansion.
The real issue here is that “me, myself, and I” died in Christ. We are raised up in Him as a new creation. The old has passed away and all things have become new! It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me – the hope of glory. Not the “hype of hope” which is worldly, finite, and always elusive. (Not to mention that worldly hope is used to control with its false promises which never materialize.)
There’s nothing on Earth that compares – all the silly dreams about glorious little ol’ me, all the rainbow chasing, all the desire to be seen. Nothing of this compares with what the Apostle makes clear here: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)
Some pretty strong language here! How could anyone dare to say that all the things our little ego may think are wonderful are only dung – manure, muck, excrement, feces, droppings, scat, cowpats, cow pies, cow patties, cow flops, cow chips, horse apples, turds – by comparison to the knowledge of Christ!
If you’ve been walking around in that stuff, then maybe it’s time to listen. You might hear what Moses heard: “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) You won’t draw nigh to God with the foot gear that symbolizes your wanderings and wantonness. That has to be put aside, if you really want to hear what God has for you.
He’s not asking for “boots on the ground”. He’s asking you to take off those boots, to replace them, having “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”! (Ephesians 6:15) He’s asking for bare feet suitable for being in His holy house – that quiet temple of the Holy Spirit within you, “sitting at His feet” as Mary of Bethany, intent on hearing what He has to say to you.
And when that happens, His loving and gentle Voice can be heard – in the midst of the “legion” of high expectations coming from self and world – the Still Small Voice gently inviting, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
When was the last time you found yourself as the man delivered from “legion” – “sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind”? (Refer to story in Mark 5) )
In today’s world we do well to contemplate this story, seeing ourself as the one who was set free by Christ Jesus from all the wild, uncontrollable urges and voices, set free to be the real “me” – created, redeemed, and sanctified – for divine life and blessing. We cannot “get anywhere” until we’re of one mind with Jesus, walking with Him, in Him, and in His “shoes”!
We truly need the Mind of Christ over all matters – in these days of doubt, despair, and delusional thinking – to see us through this journey homeward in His good and gracious purpose.