The Great Self-Delusion

“If any man would come after Me, let him deny…” (Luke 9:23)

One of the cultural dynamics that has tripped us American believers up for more than a generation is the soup we live in, day-in and day-out that tells us Christianity is all about us. It’s not about us. It’s not even mostly about us. It’s only by His grace that ANY of this is about us at all.

If we make the Christian life about us we’ll never give ourselves to (John 3:30). We’ll never see the wisdom of attaching our life to a cross that’s attached to a grave. We’ll never surrender our will to the glory of the Father. Our self (with a little help from the enemy of our souls) will always make sure that our religious experiences are about… our self.

The late Elizabeth Elliot writes: “The fact is, as believers, it is not about us. It is not about my happiness, my joy, my well-being. It is about the glory of God and the Kingdom of Christ. The only means to real joy and content,ent is to make His glory the supreme objective in my life.”

The centrality of “me” is a great delusion, and it’s SO ubiquitous in our consumeristic Christian circles… The Kingdom is not about making my life work. Our part in the Kingdom is about enthroning His reign in our lives. (This is a big difference.) But the truth is, when we DON’T make it about ourselves our lives are filled with infinitely more satisfaction and fruit than we could achieve in our own effort.

The heart of the heart of the heart the Kingdom is about the Father’s promise He made to His Son; that He should rule the nations, and have an eternal partner, redeemed, purified and brought forth in first commandment love. This means that He WILL have a Bride, not necessarily that everyone WILL be a part of Her. It’s the invitation to joy. But it’s an invitation that must be traveled by dying to self. “Rejoice, but with trembling… lest you perish in the way.” (Psalm 2:11)

This is why I like the laconic proclamation of the gospel: “Jesus is Lord. How are you responding to that reality?” This is the gospel that John points to. This is the gospel that Jesus brings. This is the gospel that the apostles and the whole of the New Testament proclaims: “Jesus is Lord! And He’s coming to reign. And you’ll want to be cleansed of your rebellion; receive His pardon; and be filled with the administration and authority of His government, because He intends to co-rule with a prepared people. Nothing! in hell or on earth will stop this King from receiving this promise from the Father. The best life we can know (and it IS unbelievably fulfilling and fruitful) is for us to make our peace with Him, enter into His terms of agreement, and surrender to His reign of love – while we can.”

This is the nexus of the separation that is being accomplished in the Church in this hour. Many will experience the tremors of His voice calling us to come out of the tyranny of our own self-focused-rule and either not see Him for Who He is, not understand His call or reject His authentic call because it doesn’t look like the call they’re used to hearing Christianity issue. Some will gloriously go through the baptism of fire that He is sending to the earth and abandon themselves to come forth “without spot, wrinkle or blemish”. (Ephesians 5:27)
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JSB • April, 2021

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