My birthday is coming up in a few days and it made me think about something I heard someone say again recently that almost always raises my hackles a little. A lot of “Christian teachers” and therefore “Christians” like to say, “It’s not about you” when they talk about the Christian faith. I think I know what they mean, at least I hope I do. What I suspect that they mean is that you don’t get to ask for anything you want and expect to get it just because you prayed some prayer. I agree with that but that’s all of that that I agree with.
The preacher has said (several times and places in my hearing), “If you were the only sinner in the world, Jesus would have come and died for you.” But then that is a statement that is without any meaning anyway. It is just an emotional appeal to get someone “saved” or to agree with some statement and say some words. The truth is that everyone has rebelled against God and been taught to rebel from an early age, either by example or by instruction, often unintentionally. Regardless, we have all learned to value our own will and desires above God’s and to choose our own way instead of His.
Birthdays, especially for children, are truly all about the one having the birthday. As I am learning to live the life Jesus has called me to live I see that it is almost entirely all about me. I agree with Ephesians 2:8-9 which says;
For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.
This is the mantra of those who want to prove that there is nothing for us to do. It is also the evidence that many offer to show that it is all about God and not about me. Probably they never opened their Bibles when the preacher shared that verse and looked at the very next verse.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
Do you see that last part? “That we should walk in them.” In chapter 4 there are some very personal instructions for me.
I therefore the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
These are instructions for me. This is about me! Throughout the New Testament I find specific and clear instructions directed at me personally from God telling me that it is about me.
Especially in what is called the Sermon on the Mount there are specific instructions given to me by the one I call Lord. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) “… I say to you, ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you’.” (Matthew 5:44) Jesus also says to me, “Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Someone is all cocked and ready to say, “We can’t be perfect, that’s why Jesus had to come and die for our sins.” Is God so unreasonable that he would tell us we must do something that He will not make it possible for us to do? Did Paul have some special power that is not available to me when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)? Was Peter mistaken when he wrote, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue, through which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world because of lust.” (II Peter 1:2-4)? In I John 2 you can read “my little children, I write these things to you so that you may NOT SIN…”. Yes, I know it came after “all have sinned” and before “And if anyone sins”. The point I am making is that John is showing us that we can choose to NOT SIN.
Yes, Jesus did have to come to pay a debt of sin for each of us, and because he did God made it possible for each of us to be born of the spirit and walk in a new life that can overcome, if we choose. At this point it is ALL about me. Will I choose to live the life that Jesus has provided and has given me an example of, or will I continue to live in sin that grace may abound?
So far I still need Jesus to be my advocate with the Father because I do stumble, but I will not sin and deny that God has provided the power and the desire to overcome sin. I am working out my salvation, with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12-13)
What about you?
It really is all about you!