In me, (that is, in my flesh),
NOTHING GOOD DWELLS.
~ Romans 7:18
It is hard for us humans to really get that. To really understand that in us, there is nothing good.
We like to think of ourselves as accomplished, talented, brilliant, capable, organized, lovely and loving people. We like to think of ourselves as spiritually-minded, moral, and good.
There is nothing farther from the truth.
The truth is that everything we do, everything we say, and everything we think is TAINTED. We do a lot of bad things, and it's fairly easy for us to acknowledge that. We think bad thoughts. We are selfish (did you ever try to beat someone to the empty checkout line at the grocery store?), proud (did you ever think you are better, more talented, more accomplished at _____________ than someone else?). We do not honour our parents or anyone above us in rank or position. We do bad things, we think bad things, every single day.
But here's the rub: EVEN OUR GOOD THINGS are tainted.
Even our prayers are not as fervent or God-centered as they should be. Even our service to others is not as pure and other-centered as it ought to be. Even our worship and praise to God fails to measure up to His holiness. ALL OF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES ARE AS FILTHY RAGS.
So how do sinful, God-loving, elect human beings ever hope to Abide in Christ, and to do so continually?
The only path to true life is to follow the path our Lord took before us: DEATH.
Do you long to abide in Christ? To be kept from sinning? To be in the closest possible fellowship with the Beautiful One?
Then know this: Your greatest enemy is SELF. Your greatest enemy is self-will, doing it in your own power, living the Christian life by your own flesh.
You cannot do it.
SELF must DIE.
Andrew Murray has a question for you to ask yourself:
Am I prepared to say that my old self will no longer have a word to say; that it will not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural, not a single feeling, however gratifying, not a single wish or work, however right?
Are you prepared to DIE?
I can hear you asking, "What about our natural talents? Can't I use my God-given talents for the glory of God?"
Our natural powers, our God-given abilities, our talents and accomplishments CAN be sanctified and used of God, but only if they are taken out from under the power of self and brought under the power of the life of Christ.
Yield your talents, your gifts, your possessions.
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. Romans 6:13 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ~Romans 12:1 ESV
Through complete surrender, offer EVERYTHING to be used by Him.
Allow Jesus to live in you
to inspire all your thinking
to control every action.
HE IS READY TO TAKE CHARGE!
Realize - you are dead to self, but alive to Christ.
Self is still strong and alive, but it has no power over you. The only time it has any power at all is when you carelessly or faithlessly consent to yield to self's usurped authority.
Realize: you were ransomed from a tyrant and made a conqueror. Self was nailed to the cross, but struggles to be free. It seeks to allure you into giving it some little liberty, or to deceive you by professing to do some service for Christ. It is a dangerous, defeated enemy. It seeks to 'serve' and look 'good' and BE SOMEONE, but nothing good dwells in it. Do not give self any quarter.
Hide in Christ!
Bring to Jesus:
- every interest
- every power
- every thought
- every will
- every feeling
Hide in Jesus!