This life isn’t really about me anymore. I am God’s and He walks as me in this life as He pleases to reach those He has placed around me. Before I can fully see this it is vital that I know under all circumstances and in any situation that I am the son in whom He is well pleased. I do not understand all the paths He takes me along. What I notice, however, is how He by my soul reenacts His own death, resurrection and ascension so that others may have life.
Around every corner in this walk I face a temptation. The temptation to believe that there is something wrong with me, that I have fallen, that I ought not think, feel or react like I do. The law always tries to make me go back to self-effort. Its subtleness can only be exposed by the practice of our senses, and it lurks around every corner trying to catch us in its net. Trying to be good is so alluring, but there is only One who is good.
Jesus was a man of sorrows, it says in the prophet. And that is a sure thing in this new life; to walk in faith believing at all times that Christ is living my life in every current moment and that I am righteous no matter outer appearances can only be established in me through various sufferings. Jesus learned the obedience of faith by what He suffered and I am by no means exempted from that.
To pick up my cross and deny myself is simply to acknowledge that I am a temple for the living immutable God, and that He works in me and as me in often mysterious ways. Jesus said: “I of myself can do nothing” and by that giving a most potent example of what it means to deny ourselves. Losing our lives is giving up any idea about self-improvement. How can a dead person go about making his appearance look more endearing?
To accept ourselves with all our weaknesses and oddities is in our inner seeing often like a huge mountain we have to ascend. But, Jesus said we could speak to mountains like that and they would be thrown into the sea. The friction created in our souls when we move into the reality of perfection against all outer apparent evidences to the contrary often causes us great pains, but the heat generated will be an outgoing flame that will be life for others.
When self-loathing, condemnation and confusion knock on the door, Jesus is even more eagerly knocking on the door to our consciousnesses. The first three insist that we are to suppress and oppose ourselves and they more than suggest that we are independent selves operating and managing ourselves apart from God. Jesus, however, leads us to the still waters of self-acceptance rekindling our faith to the fact that He is living our lives in perfection.