In Christ Jesus, we are truly released into life to live in fullness and joy! I must learn to adjust my life to the truth of the Word of the Lord, not adjust the truth to my understanding of the word. Myriads of doctrines have been formed by the later. They are what ultimately side tract us and enslave us in the prisons of legalism and exclusion.
All my life I have tried and tried and tried to get rid of me so Jesus could be seen more and more. My understanding of the word was very flawed. I grew up singing a hymn called “None of Self And All of Thee.” Each verse in the hymn takes us from all of self and none of Him, to none of self and all of Him. While on the surface, this looks to be in line with the truth of the Scripture, nothing could be further from the truth.
John the Baptist in John 3:3 said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He was referencing his ministry, the work of his heart and hands, not his person. Then it is combined with Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “…I die daily.” These are combined to teach us that we need to disappear, empty ourselves of our selves, so that He can be seen in our life. Paul was not talking about trying to be less Paul than he was. He was stating a fact that in Ephesus he literally faced physical death every day. That is the context of the passage.
A text without a context is a pretext! That statement is not original with me, for I have known it most of my life. However, that statement is true as it stands.
When we become children of God through Jesus our Lord, He desires us to be all we can be in Him. He has created us very unique and filled with eternity’s possibilities – and that is just in the flesh. When we open to being His temple, then the possibilities resident within our person are beyond our comprehension. He does not want less of us to shine, He wants all of us in our fullness in Him to shine to a lost and dying world. He intends to “be” through us in all the fullness of His creation of us.
The “put-down” of our persons is actually a hang-over from some of the early gnostic teaching that the flesh was evil and the spirit good. So the more we abused the flesh, the more of the spirit could be seen. This is totally contrary to the gospel of grace and goodness in Jesus Christ.
Jesus paid all the debt my sin and nature owed. He has given me a new Spirit life. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,….” If this is true, then He does not want nor need less of you as His creation being yourself and fully Him, but He would like to release each of us as part of the manifold expression of who He is.
Yes, we get rid of the “old man,” who was crucified with Christ Jesus and put on the attributes of our redeemed nature and begin to walk in the newness of life.
Our good ole’ legalistic ways have once again confined us into a prison of “always sinful and always lacking.” when the word makes it clear that He has paid the price for my forgiveness and I have all sufficiency in Christ Jesus.
Now let’s adjust our thinking to the Word, instead of trying to make the Word agree with our thinking. I have a job here. My thoughts go to Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We have already died in and with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14), so we are called to walk in resurrection life. We are to be living – fully alive – given to Him for breath and creative expression of His goodness. This makes us so much more than we have ever thought or hoped. So let’s stop trying to be less, and embrace the “more” of Him in us, therefore able to release into the life of the “us” He came to create. He has released us into life!!!