Obedience without Reservation

To really live...

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."

I used to think I had a pretty good handle on all this passage entailed. Yet the more I walk with Jesus, I feel I barely come close to grasping what this means, let alone letting its reality invade my practical, day to day life. That being said, I don’t write this from years of experience, but rather a place of longing to live this for real. The truth is, the only way we can lose ourselves in God is to be crucified with Him. There’s no other way to find abundant life in Him. It is in the death of “self” that we begin to know the fullness of “Christ alive” in us. Though parts of this verse seem so unreachable, I’ve experienced enough to know that when we do die to ourselves, we get the joy of Christ freely living and wholly reigning in us.

And what then happens, when we’ve died to ourselves and Jesus is actively living and reigning in us? We have then died also to the consideration of self. What I mean by “death to the consideration of self,” is that we don’t filter our obedience to God’s leadings through “how it will affect me.” When we feel prompted to risk; when we're called to obey his voice; when we have the opportunity to love at great cost (especially if it means something to our reputation or goes against our will); to have Christ alive in us, is to no longer filter our response to Him through “how it affects me.” For example, why don’t we risk and pray more that people would be healed like Jesus did or share Jesus with our friends and family more? Based on my track record, I think it’s safe to say the main hold ups are the reservations that come from within. Those reservations sound a lot like, “Oh, that would be out of my way,” “If they don’t get healed, how would I look? What would I do?,” “It’s not convenient for me,” I’m not feeling it tonight,” etc. When we first consider the possible ways our obedience to Jesus will affect us personally, we have yet to come to a place of truly living dead to ourselves. Though when we have been crucified with Christ, the “filter of self” that stands between us and our total, surrendered obedience to Him begins to fade away.

We’re all at different stages in the journey to experience the fullness of “Christ alive in us.” Some of us, through years and years of saying ‘no’ to even simple things God has asked of us, have allowed a thick brick wall-type filter to develop within our wills. Others who've purposed to say ‘yes,’ though they stumble along the way, only have a thin little filter remaining. No matter the thickness of our filter, or the degree to which we consider the personal consequences before we obey God, the Lord’s will is that they'd be entirely removed. The good news is that we have already been buried and also raised with Jesus. Our charge is to “count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11)! Ours, then, is to begin allowing this reality invade our lives in the practical and daily. If the consideration of self still exists, it is our “yes” to Jesus and “no” to anything lesser that will daily chip away and break the filter within us, making it thinner and thinner. We must offer our intentional, determined 'yes,' until the consideration of self no longer competes against our abandoned surrender to the life of Christ in us.

Of course, we may ask ourselves, “Is it worth it to be so lost in God that we no longer consider ourselves before we obey?” Though, in sight of the truth that He is Lord of every lord and “He loved us and gave Himself up for us,” we’ll find that this price is not just work it, but a bargain.

Lastly, I’ll address one other reservation that might cause us to cling to “our right” to consider ourselves before yielding to Jesus. There is a fear that may crop up when we’re faced with the choice to consider the consequences that might personally affect us if we obey Jesus. The fear is that if we don’t consider the personal consequences, God may overlook our needs that self-consideration had previously provided for us (our security, our plan for the future, our reputation, etc). However, God’s promise and His track record quickly debunk that fear: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). The reward is far greater than any cost, and He who gives life and breath and everything else has promised to meet our every need.

Perhaps the question should no longer be, “Should I (fill in blank with whatever God may call us to)?,” but rather, “Is the life of Christ in me compelling me to do this?” If ‘yes‘ is the answer to the second question, then there's no need for any other consideration. In my own pursuit of the fullness of Christ alive in me, my ‘yes’ to Him is all I can offer.

"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he is the one who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father,

and I will love him and manifest myself to him."

John 14:21

We get to know God. The reward is too great to forfeit for any reservation. He really wants to show Himself to us, more than we could possibly want to know Him or see Him. His promise is sure, but the question really is, "To what degree will we wholly obey?" The degree to which we abandon ourselves to Jesus will be the degree to which we experience His abundant life. Choose life and life abundant, though to embrace life means also to embrace death to self. That life abundant will prove itself worth it... worthwhile a hundred times over.

Always, Kaylee