“Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us: the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.” Andrew Murray, Abide In Christ.
And hence the challenge of abiding in Christ for me. It’s not a work I do for Him but a work He does for me. Abiding in Christ is a consenting to let Him do all for me, and in me, and through me. Now that may sound easy to let God do all in and through me. But, for me, that is really hard. Really hard.
Why is it so hard? Two things come to mind. Guilt and pride. I feel so guilty when anyone does something for me, much less God. I have always thought that responsibility is doing things, all things for yourself and not relying on anyone. Right? And if I was really honest, there pride in there, thinking that I can do things on my own, thank you. There’s an unwillingness to let go because I want to do things my way. I cringe a little writing this but I feel good about myself when I do things for other people. I feel important and useful. Now I know that it’s good to love and do things for others. Where the trouble comes in for me is my motive. What is my motive for doing for others? Is it about them? Is it about bringing God the glory? Or is it about me. Unfortunately, there’s still a mixture in my motive. And that’s where the pride comes in.
So what comes first, guilt or pride? The chicken or the egg. Answer–does it even matter what comes first? No it doesn’t matter. What matters is that guilt and pride hinders me from truly abiding in Christ. “Mark, will you allow Me to come and work in and through your life?” The response that comes to my mind instantly? “Lord, no, no, no. I’m here to serve you! What can I do for You? And if there’s things I need to work on in my life, show me so I can take for things. Don’t worry, Lord, I got it.” Yeah right. Just writing that makes me want to laugh, or more honestly, cringe a little. Actually a lot.
Two passages pop into my mind:
James 4:6- “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Prov. 3:34- “The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.”
Doesn’t matter what comes first. What matters is what comes next. For me it’s clear–humble myself. Humbly myself is asking God to come and do all for me. On my own, I can’t do anything. Humbly myself is asking God to do all in me. I can’t really change me. But God can and will transform me. I look back and I see His presence and work in transforming my life. Humbly myself is asking God to do all through me. Yes, it’s not me trying to impress God by doing things for Him. It’s me humbling myself and being a vessel He can use for His glory.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis
So abiding in Christ is allowing God to do His good work in and through me. And it’s yielding and trusting Him to do His work in and through me according to His perfect timing. No wonder I hear so, so, so often when I’m praying, “Mark, are you tired of trying to show Me what you can do for Me, yet? Let Me show you what I can do in the through you.” Okay, God, I get it (at least a little more) now. Give me Your grace and the patience I need to truly abide in You.