It always hurts – those times when God holds up His mirror to show me something in myself that isn’t part of who He made me to be. I had a critical attitude about something/someone last week and then found myself Sunday doing the very thing I was critical about.
I heard God’s voice loud and clear, reminding me not to judge others, to be concerned with my own self, to be patient even when I don’t feel patient, and to always extend grace to other people because none of us is perfect.
I had to confess quietly, sitting on the piano bench at church, because the worship service was starting. I was already pretty ashamed of myself. Then, as it always seems to happen with God’s teaching and molding of me, the sermon happened to be about being crucified with Christ. Of course. God was driving the idea home. You know, the concept of dying to self and Jesus living through me. Good idea. My old self, which is supposed to be dead and gone, sometimes tries to rise up and make me fall.
The amazing, wonderful thing is that if I let myself be crucified with Jesus, I get to rise to new life just like He did. And in this new life, I don’t live by my own strength, know-how, or cunning. He gives me strength. He enables me to love like He loves, to be gracious and patient, to take second place behind others. I stay in a mindset of surrender and Jesus lives through me. At least that’s the goal – that mindset of surrender thing. I can’t but Jesus can. That’s the key.
I do believe I am getting better at this as the days go by and I have more practice.
Sometimes. I’m still learning.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. ~ Galatians 2:19-20 The Message