Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lent, Day Seven: The Relinquished Life

No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only,
but his whole way of looking at things.
To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold,
and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretense.
What our Lord wants us to present to him is not goodness,
not honesty,
not endeavor,
but real, solid sin;
that is all he can take from us.
And what does he give in exchange for our sin?
Real, solid righteousness.
But we must relinquish all pretense of being anything,
all claim of being worthy of God's consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish.
There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase.
Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess,
my hold on my affections,
and on everything,
and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

There is always a sharp, painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish.
When one really sees himself as the Lord sees him,
it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him,
but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ.
When he sees himself in the light of the Lord,
the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.
If you are up against the question of relinquishing,
go through the crisis,
relinquish all,
and God will make you fit for all He requires of you. . . . 

These words (Galatians 2:20) mean the breaking of my own independence with my own hand
and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus.
No on can do this for me, I must do it myself.
God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year,
but he cannot put me through it.
It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God,
and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with himself,
not for my own sake,
but for absolute loyalty to Jesus.
There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there.
Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ--"For my sake."
It is that which makes the iron saint.

~ excerpted from Oswald Chambers,
in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter

~photo from Spring Hill College Jesuit Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama

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