success = give up + lose + submit

I know we hear all the time that winning is everything and that we should never, ever give up.

We are encouraged by our culture to demand our rights and assert ourselves.

Even the popular show BIGGEST LOSER is really about gritting one’s teeth and winning. SO called reality television is pretty consistently about survival and superiority and first-ness.

What if all of that is wrong?!

Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. – C.S. LEWIS, FROM MERE CHRISTIANITY

When Isaiah (Old Testament Prophet) wrote (Isaiah 55) that God’s ways are not ours and His thoughts aren’t ours either, he wasn’t kidding. It was not hyperbole or metaphor. It was and is the truth.

When Paul (New Testament Apostle) wrote that our worship is to give our bodies as living sacrifices, this is also what he meant — that we are called to die to everything that is “self” so that we might find life in Christ.

When Jaime (Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader) said Monday night that we should stop seeking after blessing, hoping to find God she was talking about this, too. At the heart of John’s Gospel (which we’ve been studying this year in BSF) is the reality that following Christ is to follow the way of the Cross — the way of self denial. When we chase after blessing instead of resting in Christ, we are putting ourselves in the place of honor and control.

When Robert (Methodist/Baptist Minister) wrote the words to Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, I think he understood this struggle well. The verse below is one of my favorite reminders of my own tendency to wander from full submission. I long for my wandering days to be over, don’t you?

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Where else do you hear these things in the Word?  

What passages of Scripture remind you that the world is upside down?

4 thoughts on “success = give up + lose + submit

  1. Kimberly says:

    Love that last question! The world really IS upside down.
    –“the last shall be first and the first shall be last” in gospels
    –“what you did for one of the least of these, you did unto Me.” in Matt. 24
    –“store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal” Sermon on the Mount
    –any study of the Incarnation or Passion of Christ reminds me. God of the Universe as helpless babe or condemned to crucifixion – the Creator of trees hanging on one – the Giver of Life allowing his torturers to breathe…

    There was a hit song 15 years ago about ‘what if we’re living life upside down?’ that spoke to me. That’s one of the interesting things about LOST too. Things are not what they seem on the surface in the present, or as I read a minute ago in the preface to Jane Eyre “appearance should not be mistaken for truth”.

    • ruthhubbard says:

      Yes, yes, yes. It’s hard to remember that sometimes the reason we don’t fit in this world is NOT because there is something wrong with us. As the world becomes less and less our “home” then it becomes less and less comfortable.

  2. Carrie Thifault says:

    I think even in the church we run into performance based theology. Yes, through Christ, we have been given everything pertaining to life and godliness – but how is this lived out in the day to day walk? I think Jerry Bridges really helps explain when he talks of “Dependent Discipline”. If we just buckle and down and do it “on our own” – God does not get the glory – but to constantly be dependently in prayer moment by moment – knowing that apart from Him we can do nothing.

    • ruthhubbard says:

      When we hear James saying that “faith without works is dead” we too easily twist that to mean that our good works bring life. Anyhow, I have been reminded over and again this year that the fact that we’re called into a RELATIONSHIP with God is a reality that we miss (and mess up because our human relationships are so out of whack).

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