“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
Luke 9:23-26 NKJV
At my core, I am filled with pride. Even as the Lord as radically transformed me, I still have pockets of self, that resist the correction and refinement and stand upright and fast.
Periodically these pockets surface in the form of petty thoughts of superiority, or the insistence on keeping certain sinful attitudes active in my life. I think I have made an unconcious effort to hold onto those things, in order to keep some bit of my former essence.
When I began this walk of faith, I asked the Lord to bow me, to show me hell, that I would have a burden for those who could go there. Now, before you go off on some fantastic fantasy of God actually showing me hell, He did not do that. There would certainly be a book from such an occurrence and I could make a lot of money.
What God did do, was begin the slow process of stripping away the things in my life that could get in the way of my being burdened for the lost.
Over time, I found myself deprecated, made less, flawed, more aware of my own shortcomings. My sinfullness became more apparent to me and my desire to be perfect was swept away. I began to cling to the grace of God.
I found that I was taking up my cross daily, as I died to self. I had asked the Lord to help me, and He had honored my prayer. I thought of Jesus, who laid aside the perks of deity, to take on humble flesh. He died to self in every aspect of His life, as He was humbled, that payment be paid for our sins.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
Philippians 2:5-7 NKJV
He did not hold onto His glory, but let it go, that we be saved from our sins. He came to be one of us, that we, through salvation, will one day be glorified. We will see Him as He is and we will be like Him.
In the long process of deprecation, I have found that I am better able to see those who God has sent me to tell of the Good News. My vision has been cleared of my own obstruction, as I have been done away with, bit by bit, and Jesus has replaced all that I used to be. I now see sinners with the eyes of a sinner saved by grace.
Brothers and sisters, let us ask the Lord to bring deprecation into our lives. Let us ask Him to search us, to humble us, that we be made aware of those things that have caused sin in us. Let us also seek to self-deprecate, as we daily die to self, and put the things of God ahead of what we may desire in the flesh. It all starts with seeking God to do the examination.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV
God has provided many resources to help us to live holy. We have the Word of God, which in itself has the power through the Holy Spirit to bring examination of our hearts.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
We have fellowship with other believers, people who have the power to call us on our missteps and keep us on the straight and narrow. In being transparent, we leave openings for others to examine us and see the things that we cannot see ourselves.
The assembly is also a place of refinement, as we bump up against others, thus having our rough edges smoothed.
Let us take up our crosses day by day, that we be usable by the Lord to bring the Gospel to people who are desperately in need. They do not need little perfect, self absorbed people, but people as desperate as they are, who have a Savior in Jesus who makes all things new. It is worth the loss of all things.
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
Philippians 3:8 NKJV
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