These are just my own "thinkins" on the previously posted article "Becoming the Christian God Intends", so feel free to skip over this post. ( A thank you to Brian, who came up with the word "goodins", referring to the little pieces of good stuff that fall from the serving spoon when serving a casserole or the cheese that sticks to the pizza box that is just too good to leave behind!) My thinkins are the things that I gleaned from this article that were just too good to leave behind.
"Self is very subtle, like Satan it can appear as an angel of light. If it were possible the very elect would be deceived by it. Self can be very religious, and its greatest desire is to be accepted, to be recognized as righteous. The attitude of most Christians is that God should improve them. This is evidenced by self help religious books being best sellers. Their thinking is, I have been redeemed, I am a child of God, and I must ask Him to make me a better servant of Jesus Christ. Further they believe that God should channel some love into their heart, some faith, some power, some holiness, and improve them. What we must learn is that self-improvement is both a sin and impossible."
I have spent a lot of my Christian life asking God to make me a better wife, mother, friend, piano player, housekeeper, more disciplined, more loving, more compassionate, more understanding, more virtuous.....well, you get the picture! How many times I have thought, "well, now that I am a Christian, I must do this, I should not do that." Sadly, as spiritual as that may sound, all that I did in that state of mind is wood, hay and stubble. ( I think I will be surprised at what I am rewarded for in heaven. I doubt it will be anything that I think I will be rewarded for like those who had served Christ by giving water and visiting those in jail and didn't even know that they had done it unto Christ. It's what Christ would have done and they did it because they had become like Him. But we'll get to that in a minute.)
Now I'm not saying that I don't need any changes. It's obvious to me and others, I'm sure, that I do. But it's not a matter of me changing my behavior or my thought life, it's a matter of me "becoming". My Mom used to say "it is what it is". How true! So when I see what "I is" and it's not Godly, I realize that I need some more "becoming". It's more than a matter of adjusting consciously my attitude or actions. God doesn't want me to spend my whole life consciously thinking about every word, every action, and every thought--that is, again, self. Plus, if put in a hard situation such as torture, denying Christ, or saving my fellow Christian instead of my children, I had better be what I say that I am and just not making a conscious effort to be something I say that I am, or I will fail. God wants me to "become" so that what I do, what I think, what I say is natural to me, something I do without any thought because it's just who I am or as we say, it's second nature! That is truly being free spiritually!
It's a nature change! I do what is in my nature to do. So when I have a second nature--that born again nature--I naturally do and am Christlike because it's His nature that now posses me. And I don't have to think about it--it just happens! That is the miracle of the regenerated spirit! Like apples from an apple tree, cherries from a cherry tree, or my favorite--cantelope from a cantelope plant!
I am usually a practical, no nonsense kind of person when it comes to things that matter. And I'm not saying that I should never adjust my thoughts and actions. But I realized that I have spent a lot of time trying to be something I wasn't in hopes that by trying to "be" that thing that it would develop in my life--like spiritual osmosis or something. Osmosis happens from the outside in, but spiritual change happens from the inside out!
Anything I am or am not is a direct result of how one I am with Christ. When I see areas of "concern" in my life, I realize that I'm not allowing Christ to invade and conquer that area of my life. (Oh the ongoing sanctification process--it's never ending!) It's not a matter of me making a natural adjustment, it's a matter of God making a spiritual adjustment in me. I cannot make spiritual adjustments, only Christ can do that. And the only adjustment He can make is to take out me and put in Him. Conscious adjustments can be made for awhile with seemingly positive results, but unless that spiritual change takes place, they too will cause me to fail because my flesh cannot produce a spiritual work. What is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the spirit is spirit and ONLY what is born of the spirit is eternal and sure.
It's the timely wisdom of John the Baptist--"I must decrease and He must increase". The Proverbs 31 woman did what she did because she first was what she was. That is why she had the results that she had.
Power is not something that can be given to you making you a more powerful servant of Jesus Christ. Power like love is a person, and that person is not I.
When this revelation came to my spirit I saw, and I pray that you see, that the reason for the existence of the entire creation is to contain the Creator! Not to be something but to contain someone.
It all comes back to you and me, Jesus. And it makes life so simple. I don't have to spend my life praying about all the Christian virtues, praying them into my life won't do a bit of good unless I realize that the only way I get them is if I have more of You. You are the complete package. I don't get anything from you without getting YOU! All spiritual virtues are in you and I can't have them without having you. They cannot be separated.
"Christ is all and in all." Christ is all not Christ has all. If Christ is all, what is left for me? We thought we were somebody and something or could get something. We found that God had taken the lot. Christ is all. Here is the link. Christ is all and in all.
So all there is then is knowing Christ, seeking Christ, following Christ and posessing Christ, or rather letting Christ posess me. Of all the things that I can do and know, this is the ultimate AND the essential! Seems simple enough--if my flesh and my brain would just get out of the way!