Forgive the rambling—there is a point here, even if I’m still in the process of trying to nail it down fully myself….
In fact, a lot of the reason for this current post would be that I’m still processing and/or trying to live into what I’m dealing with. In fact, there’s a quote in my last book Lay It Down (buy it now, kids) that seems as prophetic now as it seemed just plain-old relevant then:
Each of our lives need to move from being of Christ to being in Christ—and finally to the point where our life “is Christ” (Philippians 1:21, et al.).
The fact, I’m still trying to live up to my own words. They've been my wrestling match for quite some time now, and especially in the last several months. Not to mention the repeated assertions/convictions throughout 1 John:
Whoever says ‘” know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected…. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 2:4-5; 4:16-18).
And yet, Jesus also tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). That’s harder than it sounds—especially the implication that we already truly “love ourselves.” Because here’s the thing: God’s best is also my best. When I live in that truth, I am truly loving myself, far more than I am when I’m indulging/enabling/abusing myself.
Only that which is pure can conquer death. Jesus proved that. And we are in Him. I don’t need patience, restraint, humility—I need Christ. He is my patience, restraint, humility. If I am dead in Christ, then He is the only life I have. The same, therefore, is true for my neighbor.
We do not have to separate ourselves from the world—God has separated us from the world, and we need to live out of that—in the way that God has separated us. We’ve gotten it backwards.
And yet, I am becoming increasingly convinced that God is powerful enough to change even a Christian. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19b-20a). So where do we go from here, Lord?