Thursday, May 7, 2020
All believers are called to be holy. We are made holy at salvation by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We live holy when the heart is good. Only God can make it good as our whole self desires His will.
“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
self isn’t life.
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
People sometimes look to God because they have a trait in themselves which is hampering their lives. Let’s say it’s a particular lust. They imagine that when this particular lust is eradicated that their lives will get much better. I’m sure this happens to every person. We’re born sinners, we grow up learning what we “ought” to do and realize that the demands of life and society and family are demands on the self-life. We hope, that when the demands are met, that we’ll have some time left over for self.
The problem with this thinking is this: that self isn’t life.
Personal desire (eyes, flesh, pride) are not life. We cannot hold on to them and “be good.”
If we are trying to remain ourselves, to keep personal happiness as our main goal in life, and at the same time be good, Christ warned us that this is exactly what we must not do. He starkly warned us many times that we must not try to let our mind and heart go their own way - centered on money, pleasure, and ambition (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride) - and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. Christ warned us that this was impossible. He said that thistles don’t make figs.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. 26 "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. 28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
“Take up his cross” has been interpreted in various ways, for instance the cross represents the plan of God for your life, or the suffering of all Christians, persecution, etc., and I think all of them are true. But what it also clearly represents is death. It is the sentence of death. This plan and whatever suffering comes along with it must all be faced by a dead man. A man who thinks he is alive has no hope to live it. His life, meaning his personal desires and wants have to die. And then, he can walk out of the tomb alive.
Personal wishes and desires have nothing to do with the life of Christ. Do we realize what Jesus meant when He said He was giving us his joy and His peace?
Jesus’ joy and peace existed within Him because of who He was and not because of what He had or didn’t have.
Notice how in Luke’s account we see what Jesus said right before saying this in Matthew.
"The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."
Did He desire this? In one way, yes, He desired the will of the Father, thus showing Himself to be the One Man to exist in all history to have life. In another way, no. He wept over Jerusalem and what He knew she would face. He prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.”
He possessed joy and peace because His whole heart was devoted to life, His life, and ours must be as well. Not a mixture of our desires and His.
Can we see even more so why He rebuked Peter, calling him Satan, when Peter boldly forbid that He, the One Peter just declared to be the Christ, the Son of God, to suffer and die? Peter was tempting Him to chose a personal desire over the life of the divine. Satan tempted Him in the wilderness to do the same.
He then goes on to say what Matthew records:
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.