Monday, April 17, 2017

More of You, Less of Me

Hey Friend,

I have been thinking about how the world seems to be a lot more angry than it used to be.  Oh, we've always had the ability to cut others to pieces with our tongues, but the thing was, we were challenged to do it in person.

The world we live in now allows us to lob insults in texts, and tweets, and Instagrams.  We can hide, safely behind our screens, and launch word grenades that leave the other side reeling.  

Meanwhile, I believe that the enemy sits back and laughs.  He doesn't have to do the dirty work....given the opportunity, we will annihilate each other.  All he has to do is throw out a divisive topic, political, religious, or otherwise and we readily pick up sides and go on the attack.  

Why?  I suppose pride has something to do with it.  If I shout loud enough, everyone will see that I have the RIGHT answer and they will switch their way of thinking.  

If we have two choices - fight of flight - we have become awfully good at pulling out our swords and fighting.

So in this world of "my way", "your way", How do I help people see Christ's way?  

Christ never viewed people as a problem to be solved, but as people to be loved.  (recently read this in a post by Holley Gerth).

The only conclusion I can come to is this:  The more I know Him, the more I'll become like Him, and the more others will be able to recognize Him in me.

So how do I go about this?  This may seem simplistic, but how can I live for Jesus without Him? 

Go to the source.  Not only read His Word, but pray, and spend time in His presence so that I am conformed into the image of Christ.  

I'm not going to be like Him if I don't spend good quality time with Him.

"I have been crucified with Christ (remember Easter that we just celebrated?) and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

So if I die to self there's no more of me, but only Christ living through me.

More of Christ....less of me.  This is the ultimate goal.

Writer, Cindi McMenamin made some excellent points on this topic.  May I share them with you?

Jesus also said in Matthew 16:24 "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." How can you and I deny ourselves in a society that shouts "Love your body",  "Love Yourself", and "Love your Selfie!"?  How can you and I, like John the Baptist, live by the motto, "He must increase, but I must decrease"?  (John 3:30)

Cindi further points out that it means reversing the way we naturally think and act.  It means putting Christ in the place where we would normally put ourselves.  It means having:

     * Less concern for how others see you and more concern for how
        others see Jesus.

     * Less focus on what you deserve from others and more focus on 
        what you owe Christ.

     * Less preoccupation with your perceived rights and more focus on
        what it means to be a servant of God.

My takeaway from Cindi's words are that we need to focus more on the new creation that we've become...

"The old you is gone.  The new you (consumed by Christ) has come."  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

No more hiding behind the phrase, "Well, that's just the way that I am so the world is just going to have to accept it." 

But, rather to say, "I have surrendered my life to Christ and, though I am still a work in progress, I want to be more like Him and less like me."  (realizing we have a sinful nature).  

Maybe if we all started living like the new creations that we are, we'd stop insisting on our own way.  Insisting that others conform to our way of thinking. Stop lobbing word grenades at each other from behind screens.  

Instead, we would realize who the real enemy is and work together to foil his evil schemes.  We would use our words to build each other up, not tear down. We would love like Christ loved because there would be more of Him and less of us.  Food for thought.....

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for Easter that we just celebrated. You took our sins upon Yourself so that we would be new creations in You.  Help me to lay down the sword of my tongue.  Enable me to use my words to build others up and not to tear them down.  Let me view others not as projects to be fixed, but people to be loved.  Let my priority be to spend time with You so than in doing this I would be transformed to be more like you and less like my sinful self.  Instead of insisting on my way, guide me to show people Your way that leads to life everlasting.  I ask all this in Your Son Jesus' name.  Amen.

Be blessed......
ps.  Thank you for praying for the safety of our school (Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.) in the Middle East through Easter.  Praise that there were not bombs this year as Christians celebrated the Risen Christ.