Happy NEW YEAR!
There is no change for humanity but there is a glorious EXchange—THE DIVINE EXCHANGE!.
I’ve been reading a truly wonderful book by Andrew Murray: The Master’s Indwelling. He gives an extremely clear definition of the ‘self’ in all its outright evil. Having walked with the Lord some 45 years, I have met ‘your’ self and ‘my’ self in full exposure! And I thank God we can BOTH be free of that wretched self. There is a New Creation for each of us, a glorious freedom, a life of peace, that wonderful gift of God in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
There are a couple of obstacles to possessing your brand new self, a person you never were before.
One is that we have an irrepressible hope that we can change. “Try harder, do it right next time. Stop doing stupid things. Do better at work. Quit being always late.”
The legitimate, inevitable despair of the Christian life is “I can’t change.” It takes a lot of failure to force us to give up. “There’s no hope! I can’t do better.” Then what?
God never asked you to change into a better person. He offers us a new person, someone we have never been and never could be, apart from His gift. Most truly sincere Christians never experience that new creation and keep trying to be Christ-like without accessing Christ’s life to be Christ in you, the hope of glory.
OBSTACLES TO DIVINE EXCHANGE
Murray says in Chapter 2, “[S]elf is the root of the whole trouble. … A new life from above, the life of Christ, must take the place of the self-life; then alone can we be conquerors.”
So the first obstacle is hanging onto the futile hope that we can change, should change. There is no change, no improvement, no fixing and no hope for the old self-life. When you give up on yourself, you are ready for the revelation that there is a New You, already created and ready to be ‘put on.’
You died with Christ and were buried in Him. That is a fact, an event of the past and you can count on it. Your death in Christ cannot be changed it can only be un-believed.
I came to see in the scriptures and in reality that there is only one remedy to our unending failure. “Reckon the old man dead.” The word ‘reckon’ is a word meaning ‘count’ as in math. Math is the one factual, unchangeable science. Two plus two is always four! Whatever you were in your old nature, you can still be…if you want to.
For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3 (AMPC)
The second obstacle to the new creation is that the ‘old self’ – though dead – can be terribly alive and I can go back at anytime and live ‘old and bad.’ I can! And that can be very disheartening.
Andrew Murray addresses this obstacle with brilliant reality and certain victory. He goes to the cause: “I trust this cursed self, instead of trusting Jesus. I trust my own strength, instead of the almighty strength of God. And that is why Christ says, ‘This self must be denied.'”
MY LIFE FOR CHRIST’S LIFE: DIVINE EXCHANGE
The practical solution is a continuing choice: to exchange my life for Christ’s life.
There is no change for me, but there is divine EXchange!
Murray writes: “I must deny myself and take Jesus himself as my life – I must choose. There are two lives, the self-life and the Christ-life; I must choose one of the two. ‘Follow Me,’ says our Lord, ‘make me the law of your existence, the rule of your conduct…'”
Throughout The Master’s Indwelling, Murray gives what I believe is the ultimate solution, and it lies with the heart. The heart is the seat of affections – what we love directs our choice and drives our direction.
Love for God alone is the seal on the old coffin of self. When you can’t bear to visit that grave person, because it keeps you from His love, then you can give Christ your heart in total surrender and absolute ownership. Let Him rule your deepest self, the sum of your being…your heart.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 AMPC
A DIVINE EXCHANGE OF HEART
We know that David was singled out and given prominence on this one ground: God saw him as a man after His own heart. This is the core reason he gave the kingdom to David and rejected Saul.
…the Lord has sought out [David] a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince and ruler over His people…
1 Samuel 13:14 AMPC
We know from this statement what God values above all, beyond our failures and foibles. He can take this poor humanity into His power and keeping, when we live from the heart and seek His heart.
We know that He wants our heart to be His possession so that He might fill it with His passions. Then we can be filled and used for His own great Love.
It is a heart that chooses to love Him with His own love that secures His gaze and evokes His strength.
For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9 HCSB
The Holman translates this accurately. It is ownership, commitment and surrender of the heart to God. Is your heart completely His?