I recently read a devotional at crosswalk.com by Bill Bright, the late founder of Campus Crusade, discussing God’s amazing wisdom in designing man with three attributes essential to bringing God glory. Intellect, so we might KNOW Him, Emotion, so we might love Him, and Will, with which we might serve Him. Brother Bright went on to point out that these became corrupted after the fall of man when man began to worship his intellect, use his emotions for self-gratification, and use his will to make bad choices that dishonor God, becoming a slave to sin. When the Redeemer came, the last Adam, Jesus our Savior, He restored all that Adam lost.
Because of that blessed sacrifice—God provided Himself the sacrifice—we are now capable of using those three God-given attributes for their original intent: to glorify God and show forth His glory in the world, redeeming the world unto God. To do that, however, we must embrace our own cross. I repeat this often because the Master said we must pick it up daily. One of the reasons parenting is so essential to our development as humans is that no relationship challenges us quite as much to die to self and to put another first. Every time we decide not to stuff a pillow over our crying child in the middle of the night and instead rise to nurture, love, and comfort him, we have chosen to die to self. Every time we put down that novel and go to a soccer game, we have made that choice. [How spoiled those American sacrifices seem in the light of the persecuted church. The Jesus Freaks manuscripts tell of the Korean woman who stood inside the trench her husband dug. With a gun pointed at his head, the father shoveled dirt into the trench over his wife and children. Singing praises, the mother comforted her children, reminding them that in just a very few minutes they would see Jesus, and encouraging her husband not to lose his faith no matter what happened after they had gone to glory.]
Are we that surrendered to God? I confess I gripe at the little interruptions that MOPS costs me—and yet what inconvenience is the cost of an eternal soul? God calls us to be surrendered, to take up our Crosses, and once we do that, he empowers us to do more than is humanly possible. Phillips translates Philippians 4:13: I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me. Surrender to God so that He can work within us, and through us reach his needy world.
Be of good cheer, you have overcome the world.