Friday, April 29, 2011

Sharing Is Caring

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the live I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20 ESV)
The Devotion

There is a difference between devotion to principles and devotion to a person. Hundreds of people today are devoting themselves to phases of truth, to causes. Jesus Christ never asks us to devote ourselves to a cause or a creed; he asks us to devote ourselves to him, to sign away the right to ourselves and yield to him absolutely, and take up that cross daily. The cross Jesus asks us to take up cannot be suffering for conviction's sake, because a man will suffer for conviction's sake whether he is a Christian or not. Neither can it be suffering for conscience' sake, because a man will go to martyrdom for his principles without having one spark of the grace of God in his heart. Paul says, "If I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3). What then is our cross? Our cross is something that comes only with the peculiar relationship of a disciple to Jesus. It is the sign that we have denied our right to ourselves and are determined to manifest that we are no longer our own; we have given away forever our right to ourselves to Jesus Christ.

The characteristic of the cross we carry daily is that we have been "crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20 does not refer merely to the fact that our "old man" has been crucified with Christ; it refers to the glorious liberty we have of sacrificing ourselves for Jesus Christ every day we live. What is sacrifice? Giving back to God the best I have in order that he may make it an eternal possession of his and mine forever.

But something must happen first. The meaning of salvation and sanctification is not only the removal of the wrong disposition, but the radical alteration of identity. Paul says that his destiny is no longer self-realization, but Christ-identity; "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." We need to remember that we cannot train ourselves to be Christians; we cannot discipline ourselves to be saints; we cannot bend ourselves to the will of God: we have to be broken to the will of God. There must be a break with the dominant ruler. We may be clean and upright and religious; we may be Christian workers and have been mightily used of God; but if the bedrock of self-realization has not been blasted out by our own free choice at the cross of Christ, shipwreck is the only thing in the end. We enter into the kingdom of God through the cross of Jesus Christ, and self-realization cannot get through with us; it must be left outside. We must be broken from self-realization; immediately that point is reached the reality of the supernatural identification with the death of Jesus Christ takes place, and the witness of the Spirit is unmistakable-"I have been crucified with Christ."

Jesus Christ can take the man who has been broken by sin and twisted with wrongdoing and can reinstate him, not as an angel, thank God, but as a man, and present him before the throne of God without blemish, through the sheer omnipotence of his atonement.

[Oswald Chambers, Facing Reality]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lots of Lard

It's crazy how despite six intense months of God revealing so much about my character flaws and His more than sufficient grace, I still have such a vast amount of learning that remains about the infinite God I love. Yep, despite doing a DTS (Discipleship Training School) and becoming a member of the influential YWAM (Youth With A Mission) family, I'm still human. And yet as I enter back home refreshed and renewed by a recently revised relationship with God, I continue to see that God is more than willing to strengthen the convictions He has begun to instill in me. With God continuing to immerse me into different situations, I'm able to see the reality of the issues that He has already begun to stir in my heart.

The last blog I wrote was my response to a personal conviction. As I remain a human-being short of His glory, I attempted to summon up the heaviness the Holy Spirit pressed into me in regards to the two simple, overlooked words-->spiritual and ministry<--. The conviction remains and God's passion for this generation is abiding deeper into my heart. Were I to recall in the short time that I have been back home how many times I have used these two words, I have most likely run out of tallies to make for them to be accounted for. It wasn't until this past week where I opened my eyes to see, once again, God convicting me of the disgusting misrepresentation, or rather misuse, of these two words. And in contradiction to what I had had my eyes opened up to, I was just as guilty of using words in such an insincere way.

The day before I flew back home, I was able to see the sights of Dresden, Germany with some friends from my DTS and I had the privilege to get a finer experience of traditional German food. In preparing me for what was to come, my friend told me about the appetizer that was going to be brought out. When she told me, I was disgusted. It was a platter of different slices of bread served with a spread. Sounds great, right? Well, the spread was the kicker. They made it by placing chopped up onions, corn, spices, and herbs into a small bowl and then threw in old grease from previously cooked meats only to let it sit and harden to be served as a butter-like spread. After the appetizer plate came, what did I do? I took a piece of bread and shyly put a little of this lard on. Seriously. My friend had just explained to me what the spread was less than ten minutes prior to eating it. Here's the best part. After eating the first piece of bread, I had a second piece of bread with even more of the lard junk! I can hardly write this now without stopping to take a deep breath and checking to see if my heart is still beating. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but SERIOUSLY???!!! That spread was lard. That lard was gnarly and nasty...and I ate it.

This is the part where I turn this fun anecdote into a "spiritual" lesson in hopes of encouraging those in "ministry." Do you see what it is like? My dear friend, Jesus Christ, gave me a MAJOR download of all the ingredients that are going into these once precious and powerful words and yet I continue to eat them up in their pitiful and pathetic distorted definition that many Christians are applying to these words.

Less than a month of being back home, I see the reality of what I accepted into my body-which was lard. More importantly, I see the reality of my contribution to this process of misusing words, resulting in a deteriorating demonstration of truth and instilling a false definition of "spiritual" and "ministry." Hmmm....we don't need a new definition of these two words much like we don't need a new definition of Christianity. We need a new demonstration.

To put it shortly, I'm still learning and that makes me psyched! God desires more for my life than I can imagine. Since He has to bring more correction into my life through the Holy Spirit in order to make me more and more like the woman He desires for me to be, I pray for Him to continue to open my eyes to all the other lard I've been eating from this broken world because I'm hungry for something else.