What Constrains Us?

For the love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive, having brought me to this conclusion, namely, that One died on behalf of all, therefore all died, and that He also died on behalf of all in order that those who are living no longer are living for themselves but for the One who died on their behalf….

(II Corinthians 5: 14-15 Wuest Expanded Greek Translation (Emphasis added))

“What such should do, for whom Christ died; namely, that they should live to Him. This is what Christ designed, that those who live, who are made alive unto God by means of His death, should live to Him that died for them, and rose again for their sakes also, and that they should not live to themselves, v15.

We should not make ourselves, but Christ, the end of our living and actions: and it was one end of Christ death to cure us of this self-love, and to excite us always to act under the commanding influence of His love. A Christian’s life should be consecrated to Christ; and then do we live as we ought to live when we live to Christ, who died for us.”

(A Commentary of the Whole Bible – Matthew Henry, 1700s)

In Matthew 23:25, the Lord rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for being self-indulgence. Will He have to rebuke us, His children, for our excessive or unrestrained gratification of our appetites, desires or whims? Let us be diligent to examine ourselves and repent of this sin, if we find ourselves guilty of it.

Let us thank Him for His great love for us, which was revealed on the Cross, and rejoice in it.

May His mercy and grace be abundant to you in this New Year!!

Carl

SELF

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,…”  Ephesians 2:1

The opening scripture is describing our condition prior to finding forgiveness for our sins in Jesus Christ, our great Savior.  We were dead to God. What an awful thought.

Concerning this “dead” relationship to God, I want to share the following statement from William Law (1686-1761).  Law was a devout Christian Englishman who, through his writings, attempted to wake up the sleeping church in his day. He wrote the following about Self:

“Men are dead to God because they are living to Self. Self-love, self-esteem and self-seeking are the essence and the life of pride; and the Devil, the father of pride, is never absent from these passions, nor without an influence in them. Without a death to self, there is no escape from Satan’s power over us….

To discover the deepest root and iron strength of pride and self-exaltation, one must enter into the secret chamber of man’s soul, where the Spirit of God, who alone gives humility and meek submission, was denied through Adam’s sin…

Here in man’s innermost being, self had its awful birth, and established its throne, reigning over a kingdom of secret pride, of which all outward pomp and vanities are but its childish, transitory playthings….

Imagination, as the last and truest support of self, lays unseen worlds at his feet, and crowns him with secret revenges and fancied honors. This is that satanic, natural self that must be denied and crucified, or there can be no disciple of Christ. There is no plainer interpretation than this that can be put upon the words of Jesus, “Except a man deny self, and take up the cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.”

The Seduction of Christianity – Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon

I have read this statement numerous times and each time I see something else about my Self.  May you linger over it until the Holy Spirit has shown you everything He wants to show you concerning your Self.

May we evaluate our discipleship in the light of the words of our Lord. Is our discipleship genuine according to His statement in Mark 8:34 or is it just a religious facade like the Pharisees had. Jesus described them as whitewashed tombs, pretty on the outside but full of death or Self on the inside.

Heavenly Father, God of all wisdom, please open our understanding to how deadly Self is. In Jesus’ precious name we ask this. Amen.

We believe in and therefore choose to walk in Paul’s words:

“…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with , that we should no longer be slaves to sin…” (Romans 6:6)

Take up the Cross,

Carl