At the beginning of 2017 I purchased two small devotional books. One was My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers which I used every day for 2017, and again in 2018, and again in 2019, and am using again this year 2020. There is so much deep content in that little book, it may take the rest of my life to mine it all. But that is not the one I wan’t to talk about today.
I never used the other devotional book I bought that year. It was Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. I wound up giving it away as a gift, but I’ve never forgotten that in the first chapter I read on January 1st, the author made this bold statement –
“The giant step in the walk of faith is the one we take when we decide God no longer is part of our lives. He is our life.”
At the time, I wrote in my journal that I had no idea whatsoever what that means and asked God to show me what my life would look like if He was my life; not just part of it. It has taken me over three years to begin to understand what that little, bold statement means. We talk about God’s purpose for our lives; God’s plan for our lives; God’s will for our lives; God’s design on our lives; God’s mission for our lives, God’s calling on our lives. But all those are all still talking about “our” lives. If God wants to be my life, then I somehow suspect it isn’t my life anymore, but His.
How does that happen?
Galatians 2:20 was the beginning of my understanding –
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Christ lives in me! Then that means He is my life. These quotes from my favorite author also expanded this picture for me –
“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312“’As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.’ John 1:12.
This power is not in the human agent. It is the power of God. When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ.
“power to live the life of Christ.” Not my life but His life! Then back in Galatians, I read –
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill
the lust of the flesh.” (5:16) and“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (5:22)
The Spirit is the power promised to us in God’s word. If I give God permission to search every little corner of my life and clean out any darkness that might be hindering the fullness of God’s Spirit in my life, and then the Spirit fills the room that has been swept clean, God has given me the life of Jesus – He is my life! And the evidence that has occurred is a life that no longer fulfills the lusts of the flesh but walks in obedience as Jesus did. In Ezekiel 36, God is telling Israel that He will put His Spirit in their hearts and cause them to walk in His statutes. In verse 23 He says,
“the nations shall know that I am the LORD when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”
The people I rub shoulders with every day will know there is a God in heaven when they see Him living His life in me. That’s what God wants for me, and for you. I want it, too. The secret is surrendering every day to let God clean up my sin-filled life.
As I have read My Utmost for His Highest day after day, I have come to realize I must give up my “right to myself” as Oswald Chambers puts it. It is a constant battle to surrender self – my own will, desires, goals, and plans so that God can live His life in me.
Am I there yet? Not even close! I’m not sure I even fully understand yet what it truly means. I am sure there is more to be revealed on this subject. I do know, though, that it looks like the fruit of the Spirit in my life in every situation I come up against. I know it looks like the calm and peace Jesus displayed while on trial and being nailed to the cross. I know that it will so amaze the people who see His character in me that they will say, “Wow, how does she do that?” And I know I want that! How about you?
By Linda Rothenburger