Monday, June 2, 2014

“Swans” Part 8

       We might suppose it would be spiritually advantageous if we could achieve the spiritual and mental state expressed by a popular chorus from many years ago, "Let's forget about ourselves, magnify the Lord, and worship Him."

   The Bible does not confirm this well-meaning, but misguided sentiment.  Rather than forget ourselves, Scripture rather calls born again believers to think rightly about ourselves in relationship to God.  Self-awareness, properly received and assimilated, comprises a blessed gift to us that reflects the fact of our original creation in the Lord's image.  He knows and understands Himself, perfectly, and He purposes in Christ to form within us a knowledge and understanding of ourselves that leads not to self-centered egoism, but rather to the love that "seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5).

   "Reckon ye also yourselves to be… alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).

   The recognition and affirmation that we "live through Him" provides the basis for the self-awareness that results in devotion to God and others (I John 4:9).  Human beings exist to serve as "the habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22).  We are only truly alive when the Lord dwells in us, and we only truly live when we know and respond to this "hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).  Thus, to view ourselves rightly involves relationship with God through the Lord Jesus, and the subsequent "newness of life" that constitutes our spirits as the very home of God (Romans 6:4).  Do we perceive ourselves as just ourselves?  Or do we realize and affirm the presence of the Holy Spirit in us whereby we affirm ourselves to be in Christ, and Christ in us?  How we answer this question greatly affects our experience of life, and of God's presence and working in our trusting hearts.  "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were  baptized into His death?   Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).

   We may view ourselves as swans only because the presence of Christ in us changes the very heart of who and what we are.  The Apostle Paul declares the new person we are in Christ to be "created in righteousness and true holiness" rather than "as" these qualities that only innately exist in God (Ephesians 4:24).  We are the vessel; He is the content.  Again, God made us to "live through Him," that is, our human self exists as a branch of the Divine Vine (John 15:1).  This we are in Christ, and this we must perceive ourselves to be if the blessed reality of who He is and who we are in Him is to be known and vibrantly expressed.  If we have trusted the Lord Jesus, we are no longer the lonely and ugly duckling of our old existence.  We are rather the swans God made us to be, as inhabited, actualized, and energized by His living presence.  This we must know about Him and about ourselves, and thus, the New Testament calls us not to forget about ourselves, but rather to think rightly about ourselves, that is, to think in the terms of grace whereby "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).

"Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit."

(I John 4:13)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6)

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