Oh, how much this quote describes my life. I have fallen willingly into the “easy life” of just being “normal”. But I claim to be hidden in the very life of Christ, and to have Him dwelling in me…how can I be “normal” while truly living that?
I was reading in Katie Davis’ book and this cute interlude between her and one of her children popped out at me (this is slightly paraphrased because I don’t have the book right here with me)–
‘One of my girls asked me: “If I ask Jesus into my heart, will I explode?” I laughingly replied with “No, of course not!” and then I rethought my answer: “Yes, if Jesus comes into your heart, you will explode.” That is exactly what we should do if Jesus comes to live inside our hearts. We will explode with love, with compassion, with hurt for those who are hurting, and with joy for those who rejoice. We will explode with a desire to be more, to be better, to be close to the one who made us.’ -Katie Davis
When we enter into Christ and He enters into us, it is an exchange–His life for ours. Our life for HIS. It is not a joining of two lives. God is not coming in and joining up with our old life. He comes in and ravishes our life and completely overtakes us….this is how it should be, anyway. We are to be dead to self–our old man absolutely eradicated. Exchanged for the life of CHRIST.
“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.” Psalm 4:3
Set apart: to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished
to be wonderful
to make separate, set apart
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
There are areas of life where in this world we are to be extraordinary–but in the heavenly realms, these things are to be the norm.
In our world, it is normal to worry about things that aren’t looking so great. But as a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be anxious for nothing.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.
In our world, it is the normal thing to do live a “good life” and just not do “bad things”. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to continually “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith” and to “be perfect as [HE] is perfect.” In our earthly terms, to truly live this way is extraordinary.
In our world, it is the normal thing to do get upset about things, wish our circumstances were different than they really are, to get discouraged at our situations in life, to shy away from pain and persecutions. As a new creation in Christ, set apart for Him, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, REJOICE!” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.
In our world, it is normal and even wise to have a backup plan, in case God doesn’t come through (although we wouldn’t actually put it in those terms). We specifically plan for “plan B” to kick in. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are to have Christ as our all in all–and once we put our hand to the plow, we are not to even glance back. We are called to extreme faith (“without wavering!”) in the One who has called us–“for He is faithful that promised.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.
In our world, it is the normal thing to do hold a grievance against another when they have specifically wronged you, we feel justified in holding onto our offenses. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to forgive, even as the Heavenly Father has forgiven us–completely and utterly, without even a remembrance of any wrong done. In our earthly terms, to live this way is beyond extraordinary.
In our world, it is the normal thing to do to become panicked in a time of crisis. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be still and know that [He] is God.” The disciples, when panicking over looking death right in the face, are rebuked: “…why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.
In our world, it is the normal thing to do to depend on ourselves and our own strength–we are so often specifically even raised this way in our culture. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to have complete and utter dependence on God, in absolutely every single aspect of our lives. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary (and is usually seen as stupid!).
In our world, it is the normal thing to do to take time for ourselves, to make our own self feel better, to have “down time”, to pat ourselves on the back for all the good we’ve done and reward ourselves with some time for ourselves. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to live as if our lives are not our own–because, indeed, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are not our own. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary.
There are so many more such examples.
The point is that these things should not be extraordinary in the life of Christ–living as the life of God requires of us should be the normal for a life surrendered fully to God. But if the world looks at us as “normal”, we have much to be concerned about!
We are to be showcasing a new creation. A creation made exquisitely by the Master Creator Himself!
True godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ to whose eternally unchanging and altogether adequate “I AM!” your heart has learned to say with unshatterable faith, “Thou art!” – Major Ian Thomas
If we are holding onto parts and pieces of our life for any reason, then we have not yet grasped the fullness of the Gospel. When we’ve truly seen Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is no holding back from giving Him our all…but it should be completely outside of anything we or anyone else may personally receive–it is because this is what the life and death of Christ requires of those claiming His name: abandonment of self and all you once held dear.
And it is with great excitement and willingness that this takes place, because we have seen that He is worthy!
If there are still parts of us that are living “to and for ourselves”, where does full surrender then come into the picture?
Full surrender doesn’t come into the picture . . . it is the picture.
It is not ordinary to desire to be spilled out for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to be willing to be looked on as being a fool for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to get excited at the thought of dying for Christ’s sake. It is not ordinary to love Jesus more than life itself.
But this is what a life surrendered to an extraordinary God compels us to.
So, I say again with Jim Elliot:
“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”
When one is captivated by and allows their life to be ravished and overtaken by so extraordinary a God, they become a “one-note wonder”. JESUS.
That is the cry of my heart. The refrain of my life. And I want that to be the only cry of my heart for the rest of my days–that every breath I breathe would proclaim
Make me ever more dependent on you, Lord. I need you desperately.
We are commissioned to represent Christ! To bear the very name, to bear the very image and reputation of God Almighty!
Don’t pray that God would teach you how to love like He loves; pray that He would fill you with Himself and that He would love in and through you. Don’t pray that He would teach you to have joy; pray that the living God full of joy would enter into you. Don’t pray that He would teach you how to be peaceful; ask for the God of peace, the Prince of peace to infill you. Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works because it is Him imitating Himself, and He is very good at being God. -Eric Ludy