DayBreaks for 8/28/14 – It Is Not I

DayBreaks for 8/28/14 – It Is Not I

Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It is said that St. Augustine was accosted one day on the street by a former mistress sometime after he had become a Christian. When he saw her he turned and walked the other way. Surprised, the woman called out, “Augustine, it is I”. Augustine as he kept going the other way, answered her, “Yes, but it is not I.”

It is an amusing story in a way, I suppose, yet also sobering – one that comes close to making the same point the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer made when he wrote “When Christ calls a man to follow him, he calls him to die.”

I don’t like the idea of dying.  Our flesh and fleshly spirit fight against it.  Yet we are all called to die if we choose to live, to lose our life in order to find it, to take up our cross and follow him.  And where does that following of Christ lead us?  Paul put it well in the passage above: My old self has been crucified with Christ.

We might be tempted to take up the cross and follow Jesus, much like Simon the Cyrene who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross.  But when it comes to the place of crucifixion, we’re happy to let Jesus get up on the cross rather than being nailed to it ourselves.  Paul shows us what carrying the cross really means: it means being crucified with Him, not skipping out on the nails and dying that must take place.

Augustine got to the core of it, too.  I’m still struggling to get there.

PRAYER: I know, Jesus, that the invitation to take up the cross and follow you is that it is my own cross that I’m to bear and that the journey will lead to the death of my fleshly nature so that I can take on Your nature.  Still it is hard, Lord!  Help!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 03/27/12 – The First Ten Feet

DayBreaks for 03/27/12 – The First Ten Feet

The first ten feet must be traveled.

“When I am lifted up,” Jesus goes on to say, “I will draw all people to myself.” – John 12:32

Lest we are tempted to think that Jesus was talking about seeing his name on the marquee as the star of the show, that he was talking about his fame and popularity rising and soaring to the stratosphere, the apostle John throws in a bit of commentary in verse 33 to set the record straight and remove any mystery from what Jesus meant.  What Jesus had in mind wasn’t being raised up on a star stage, but being lifted up on the cross.  Not long hence, Jesus would get lifted up during the ascension into heaven, but the first ten feet of the ascension back to heaven came by way of a cross. Jesus’ upward journey started when the Roman soldiers hoisted him up skyward at the Place of the Skull.

All Christians look forward to the time when we fly off into glory with Jesus, don’t we?  It is something that we long for, we anticipate.  Scripture even suggests it is a motive for perseverance!  As Scott Hoezee, in Comments and Observations wrote: “So if you want to fly off into glory with Jesus, you’ve got to be part of the first ten feet of the trip as well. You can’t prop up a stepladder on the side of the cross, climb it, and then meet Jesus at the top for the balance of the journey to glory. You’ve got to be crucified with him. You have to be the kernel who gets buried into death with him. “Where I am, my servant will also be.” But as a servant, it is not up to you to pick and choose the times and places you want to be with Jesus. You are with him always and everywhere or you are with him never and nowhere.”

I sometimes fear that we’re so eager to take wings and fly with Jesus that we’re not willing to crawl up on our cross and be lifted up with him first.

PRAYER: In our hurry to get to the day when we “fly away”, don’t let us neglect the first 10 feet of the journey!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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