21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteousle: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 Pet. 2:24
In those early days when we were being taught how to receive by faith, we used to hear preachers say, “You know that you know that you know…” In other words, we were to know deep down in our hearts that we had received whatever we had asked God for. That principle still stands with regard to our faith.
But, today, under the ministry of the revelation of the cross of Jesus, I have come to know something more. I have come to know that faith goes beyond just receiving. Actually, I have come to learn that faith is all about giving; and giving of the highest scale possible.
In this light, therefore, I have come to learn one of the most important lessons that I will ever learn as a believer. And what, pray, might that lesson be?
It is that, whenever someone forces their way with me and I feel bad about it, I always know where the problem lies: it is with me. THE PROBLEM is not that other person, and it does not matter what it is they have done to me. It does not matter whether they have insulted me or beaten me or taken away my things. If my heart is not right any time someone has their way with me, the problem is with me, not them.
You see, the revelation of the cross teaches that the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about giving our lives, just as Christ gave His. It is dying to self. Once self has died, it does not hurt. Who is affected when we are hurt? It is self.
Dying to self. What else do you think Jesus meant when He said to deny ourselves? (Mat. 16:18). It is the giving up of who we are.
It is in marriage especially that the denial of our rights is tested most. A man of God once said that half the cup that we are to partake in salvation is in marriage. In marriage, you have with you someone who is guaranteed to constantly chafe you the wrong way. Unless you are married to Jesus Christ Himself (but no, He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father), you are guaranteed to have someone with the same weaknesses as you have and who therefore will fail you much of the time. Just as you yourself fail them, although we somehow gloss over that.
But, whatever situation arises to confront us, we are called upon to give up “our seats”. Yes, those lofty seats that we have allocated to this fellow called self, we are called to give them up if we would be like Jesus. The Bible says He left us an example to follow. So we need to ask ourselves, even as we fight tooth and nail to retain our rights, what example are we following? We ought to ask ourselves, are we dying with Christ, or are we fighting to keep the flesh alive. But remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (Jn. 12:24)
Many Christians today are alone. This means they are profit-less in the Kingdom of God. Oh, isn’t that so, so, so very sad?
And the reason?
The reason for one abiding alone is simply because they are holding onto their lives.
Let us end by looking closely at verse 24 above.
“24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
The Bible makes no mistakes; and here it clearly states that Jesus gave His own body at Calvary. Jesus did not fight for self. No, on the contrary, He gave up His body.
And here we see what happens when we give up our bodies; when we crucify self. Life comes to the world! Life comes to those around us… and even to the furthest reaches of the world. Amen and Amen!!
[Give your life!]