Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stop living for God

After reading and discussing chapter 2 of Ian Thomas' book The Saving Life of Christ, I have been struck by a couple of ideas...
The absolutely inadequate way that the Christian life is portrayed and offered by our churches- how many of us grew up hearing sermons proclaiming that we must live for God? Everything we do must be done for God! Witness to the lost... For God! Every aspect of our walk with God was to be focused on a life lived for God. It's an easy misunderstanding, and no harm was meant by the fantastic men and women that taught these principles, but they are principles that shift the focus and the burden of the Christian squarely on our own shoulders. It leads to massive amounts of people who come into a saving relationship with Christ to be radically changed and excited about going about and doing good works to advance God's kingdom... They are excited about living for God's glory... but then, as they get further into it, the same excitement begins to fade, our fruits begin to wither, rot, die, and decay... We get tired and burnt out, it's too hard, the burden is too heavy, and we become just like the majority of Christians that we have ever known... The kind that the lost world looks at and says, "why do I need God? I'm already tired and defeated"
We've missed a very crucial point... It is never supposed to be us living for God, us living for Christ, because that places us in a religion that is just like so many others with the believer at the center, trying to earn goodness... Christianity is different, we are to live surrendered, not for Christ, but with Christ living through us! It is saying at that moment that we ask Jesus to forgive us and become our Lord and Savior, that we surrender our bodies and mind to Him so that He may come and live through us. The burden of living for God is lifted by God living through us. The joy and peace of the Christian life is knowing that I can't live for God and accomplish anything, but if I choose to allow God to live through me, He can accomplish everything. It is only when we forget and try to again do something for God's glory that we are back on the road of defeat. We must choose daily to surrender, to find the strength to surrender, and by doing so, having an unspeakable joy just knowing that through you, God can do anything. Jesus told His disciples that even though they witnessed Him doing great things on this earth, that they would do even greater things once the Holy Spirit was descended upon them. It's because it allows Christ, through the surrendered flesh of all who believe, to work in all places, in all things, doing all work, for all time! It's not because we are somehow more able to do something for God, but rather we are more able to submit to His doing something through us that His glory would be magnified!
Stop living for God... He can do it better. A life lived in regular submission is a life filled with abundant joy that makes a lost world curious. A life lived in recognition that all God has ever expected from man is failure, is a life free from the burden of hoping that you're good enough. A life lived consenting to the will of a loving God is a life that is fulfilled in a way that can only be experienced, not described. The only way to experience that joy and freedom, that true peace, is to step out in faith and tell God that you want to surrender. Tell God that you are tired of trying to live for Him, and you are ready for Him to live through you.

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