I am not my own
My life is no longer my own.
It is no longer about empowering myself or expressing myself; expanding my status or securing my legacy; making my mark on the world.
It isn’t mine to spend gathering up a little knapsack of skills, experiences, travels, languages, relationships and spiritual titbits to swing onto my shoulder as I whistle my way into eternity.
My life is now about dying to myself. Done. Dead. Crucified.
Dying to my old dreams, my old ambitions, my old fears - letting even the memory of them dim and fade into insignificance; knowing that I have been bought with a price and reborn with the heart of my Father; allowing that heart to beat out the rhythm of my new life - one built from His DNA, that reflects His thoughts, His words, His actions.
However adamantly we might insist that we are living as if we know this to be true, it will always be a daily battle not to slip into living out an upside-down perspective of the dynamic between Creator and created - one in which we’re subtly working to resurrect the person we used to be.
Instead of living to serve, please and glorify God, we can begin to act as if He is living to serve, please and glorify us. We can start to see God’s role in our lives as a kind of magical life coach, whose purpose is to support us in the pursuit of living for our old dreams, achieving our old ambitions and avoiding our old fears - helping us to expand, unlock and saturate our new lives with the hopes and dreams of our old ones, and then, job done, patiently wait to speak until spoken to.
If we are in any doubt of the truth of this sad reality, we need only listen to our prayers - readily revealing the secret state of our hearts. So often we spend more time asking God for things than we do dwelling in wonder, praise and adoration of who He is - exposing our hunger for comfort, control, safety and success; instead of lifting our eyes to heaven, beating our chests and crying out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
It is no surprise when we begin to long for things more than we long for Him. The pounding beat of our old hearts ringing in our ears once more.
How much more joy and peace we would know if we rested in the purpose we were actually made for. If we abandoned our old, distorted ambitions and really lived for something more than ourselves. If we valued God’s presence above the things we request of Him. If we offered ourselves up and told Him that He may do with us anything He pleases, at any time He pleases, anywhere He pleases.
If we woke each day to pray, “Father, I love you. Here I am. How can I help you today?”
If we lost ourselves in pursuit of Him.
“Don’t aim at fame. Don’t aim at wealth. Don’t aim at safety. Aim at all-satisfying joy in God.” John Piper.
We must lift our eyes from ourselves again and again. Because this life just isn’t about us. If we were to align our hearts with His, reordering our desires, we would know that we now have a far higher purpose than a life of more, here, on Earth. A higher calling than the pursuit of more, here, on Earth. A higher truth than one in which faith serves mainly to unlock abundances of more, here, on Earth.
How can those small dreams, ambitions and fears compel us any more?
How can we even want to remember them, let alone pursue them?
Heaven was shattered so that we could glorify the living God with our indwelling daily delight in Him, but we choose to spend our brief moments in His presence asking for a promotion at work, or that we might be able to afford a new car and get in a few holidays this year.
We need to wake up! This story is not about us!
We are not at the centre of the universe. We are not the protagonists of the narrative - we are in it only to reveal something of the majesty of God. He is King, not us. We have been created by Him to live for Him, not us. A life devoted to giving God glory is what we were born to do. It is the only thing that can give us the meaning, purpose and peace to make sense of it.
Yes, we do now have the impossible privilege of being able to lay the desires of our hearts before God.
But from which heart do those desires flow?
Are they the once forgotten echoes of your old, dead heart, or do they beat out new life in time with the heart of God?
Your Christian life isn’t about more for you. It’s about more than you.
To live is Christ.
In Christ, through Christ, for Christ. Are you? Am I?
Now, there are a great many blessings that accompany a life lived this way, yes. There is abundant meaning, truth, beauty and purpose, yes. There are wonderful joys beyond anything we could’ve ever imagined, yes. But the pursuit of those things is not our objective.
They are but the fruit of a tree rooted in a godly life, and we will never know the fruit without first growing the tree.
Christ is our objective.
His glory, His name, His fame.
Don’t live for more.
Live for Jesus.