If through the cross and resurrection Jesus has removed my former self and nature, and given me a new self and His nature, if He has united me with Himself (He lives in me and I live in Him), if He has made me a truly holy and righteous son (we’re compatible!), then is it my “role” to now deny myself, to step aside, get out of His way and become less so He can become more? Doesn’t that seem like a contradictory waste? Doesn’t that seem like a whole lot of self-effort when He has already done everything to me that’s necessary?
I think a misunderstanding of this is one reason why some of us are weary and disillusioned in our walk with God. We believe that we still have to do something harsh to ourselves in order for God to “use” or be happy with us. But that’s not true because it’s all over with. It’s a done deal. We’re good! You’re better than good.
When there is something going on that’s outside of my new character, self is not the problem, flesh is the problem, and my deceived attempt to live under its influence. If I believe that “self” is still my problem, I will be induced to do something about myself (“Surrender!” “Die to self!”) that, in fact, Christ has already done, and I’m heading into frustration. When I don’t believe the truth, there is no way to avoid frustration.
But when I am renewed in my thinking, I live by faith in all that He has done with me through the cross and resurrection. My faith is in Him, and I rest in Him and gladly offer myself to Him. We get along perfectly! And that’s amazing.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
(For much more on this, check out my book at lifecourse.org, amazon.com, or at your local bookstore.)