Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"On the Sidelines... Active Participants"

We've probably all heard about the fellow who responded when asked about himself, "Well, I suppose the thing of which I'm most proud about myself is my humility!"

True virtue, as wrought in us by the Lord Jesus Christ, is largely an unconscious thing. "When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (Matthew 6:3). The born again believer focuses on his Savior's virtues rather than his own, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). By this gaze away from ourselves and unto Christ, "we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

We do not lose our self consciousness, of course, but rather have it redeemed and purified unto the intended purpose for which God made the human race to be self aware. We see ourselves rightly, as the active, willing branches whereby the character of the Lord Jesus is displayed in and through us. His role is to be the heart of all virtue within us as He resides in us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Corinthians 1:30). Our role is to trust Him, and to submit ourselves unto Him for His glory, will and eternal purpose in Christ. Thereby God works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure," and thereby we live in great expectation that the presence and power of the risen Lord Jesus will consistently lead and enable us (Philippians 2:13).

By this dynamic of God's grace and truth, we will at times know that particular aspects of His character, glory and will are being accomplished in us. By and large, however, we won't think in such terms. We will simply do and be God's will, with our primary focus directed to the wonder of His goodness as directed to us. We will feel as if we are sitting on the sidelines cheering even though the truth of the matter is that our human faculties and members are active participants in the competition. The Lord Jesus alone is glorified, people are drawn to Him rather than to us, and pride has no place in our thoughts because God is increasingly known as the source and supply of all goodness in our lives...

"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)

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