• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

the Turn

Today’s post comes from Tim in Spain.

I have to admit that I’m having a love/hate relationship with some of Keller’s writings.  I love how he’s constantly pointing out the Gospel at every turn.  I hate how he so easily shows me my weakness, my sin, my need!

In this week’s chapter I was challenged by Jesus’ words that really call us to a new identity.  Jesus 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 and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34)  You see, I don’t like the thought of losing my life very much.  I like protecting it, glorifying it, making it bigger—not losing it.  The “I” in Tim can be really big.  There’s a lot in my life that likes to form its identity in performing, achieving, and looking good in the eyes of those around me.  So, NO!!!, I don’t like losing myself and my life very much.

This week has been a good example.  It’s one of those weeks where you feel like you’re being a good worker.  I feel like I’m giving almost all I have, like I’m being poured out in service to God and others.  But then I look at what’s in my heart and have to ask, “Is this really being done for God or is there something in me that is really doing all these things to build me up, not His kingdom and His glory?”  I struggle with this.

Keller reminds us of C.S. Lewis’ words, “It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His personality, that I finally begin to have a real personality of my own…” (p. 106) He then writes, “If you go to Jesus to get a new personality…you still haven’t really gone to Jesus.  Your real self will not come out as long as you are looking for it; it will only emerge when you’re looking for him.”  (p. 106)  I easily turn to myself thinking that I’ll find myself—using things like determination, control, hard work,  and a personal agenda to get there.

I think we could really do ourselves a favor by turning to our King and returning to His cross to really find ourselves.  It would sure take a lot of pressure off of us!

 

Col. 3:3 says, “Your old life is dead.  Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God.  He is your life.” (The Message)  What types of things do you do to build up your identity?  What does “turning” to Christ look like for you in order to take on HIS identity?

Next week: chapter 10 – “the Mountain”

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