Tuesday, January 7, 2020
There is a vital skill that every doctor must possess. They must be able to view symptoms and diagnose causes. When I need to go to a doctor, I want more than just symptom confirmation, I want the origin of the symptom to be determined. Don’t just treat the symptom – get rid of the cause.
However, on average we don’t want such diagnostic skill when it comes to our personal lives. We prefer to live with a band aid approach to symptoms so real disease is never exposed.
Busyness with all our stuff and our agendas is one of the symptoms that is visible. It is an indication of the disease that has invaded our spiritual lives. We see the symptoms, but we are in denial about the disease that causes them. The disease is humanism.
We who are followers of Christ are much of the time followers of self. We have chosen a humanistic approach to life, to goals, to success, to decision-making, and to choices, and then we attempt to satisfy the longing of our soul by adding a little band aid of faith. We have made a religious choice that we think complements our humanistic choices, when we should be destroying all dependence upon the flesh and living continually in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
What do we think Jesus meant when He said,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
Deny yourself. Lose your life. Those are the things that mark a follower. But for some reason we have assumed a right of leadership not granted by God. We have arrogantly decided to ask God to fulfill our wishes and desires. We have become the leader of God rather than the follower of Christ.
God will not be led. But He also will not lead against our will. Instead, when we choose to, He lets us go ahead on our own. He never forsakes us, and never leaves us, but He stops listening to our demands for what we want. He stops providing fixes for our failures. In His jealous love for us He allows us to fall on our humanistic faces so we are in the proper position to pick up a cross.
But even when we are on our faces, we tend to justify how we got there, and we develop plans for how we are going to get up. We make resolutions to save more, spend less, eat less, and exercise more. We make commitments to watch television less, study more, pray more, and sin less. But far too often those resolutions are prescriptions for symptom relief, and we do nothing to cure the disease.
The only cure for the disease of humanism is death. The right to self-government of our lives must die. The right to fleshly fulfillment must die. The right to social success must die. The right to financial security must die. In other words, the right to our own rights must die.
Only in death can there be life. We have tried to add life to death. We have attempted to bring eternal life into the context of our humanism and call it salvation, which denies the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. How can we know His resurrection power if we do not die to self?
When we die to self, the life of Jesus can be experienced.
Today, let’s begin a new adventure of self-denial. We will need help from God. We will need to help each other. Let’s choose to be humble enough to let others diagnose the disease rather than put a band aid on the symptom. Together we will die to self and be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)