Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just Stop...Dying to be Better

All of us (myself included) spend too much time on self-improvement and thinking that if we just try hard enough, we can be better, faster, kinder, thinner, richer, (you fill in the blank). I know I’ve lain in bed at night telling myself what I’ll do the next day:

Tomorrow, I’m not going to raise my voice when I get frustrated.
Tomorrow, I'm not going to worry.
Tomorrow, I’m not going to….

You fill in the blank. What is on your list for tomorrow? 

All through the Gospels, Jesus tells us that if we are going to follow him, we must die to self - we have to lose our life to find it.

This is the opposite of what most of us spend our lives doing on our quest for self-improvement. We spend our lives searching for 'ourselves' instead of losing ourselves in Jesus.

Losing your life to find it is hard. It's a weird concept for us in our modern world of instant gratification and egotism to understand. It’s also incredibly difficult to put into practice. That's why most of the New Testament is about how to do it and encouragement to keep trying when we fail.

We can't work harder each day to make ourselves better Christians and perfect people. None of us will ever achieve either – those are titles from the 'self improvement' checklist we need to throw out.

No matter how hard we try we can't lose ourselves in Jesus without Jesus. The more we try to do it on our own, the more we will fail. The only way we will find ourselves and the life that Jesus calls us to live is by giving it all up to God - all of it.

We will never get it totally right. We can’t because we are human and sinful. Lucky for us, God isn’t calling us to be perfect people when He calls us to new life in Him. He is calling us to simply abide in Him and let Him work through us. We don’t have to save ourselves, our family, or our world. Jesus already did that on the cross. Our job is help people know that it’s already been done.

Instead of telling yourself what you are or are not going to accomplish tomorrow, ask God to help you empty yourself so that He can fill you up. Ask Him, in the words of  Love Come to Life by Big Daddy Weave, to ‘Bring your love to life inside of me. Why don’t you break my heart ‘til it moves my hands and feet for the hopeless, and the broken, and the ones who don’t know that you love them…”

-Chesney Szaniszlo

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillipians 3: 12-14