Glory-stealer. That is the term that has been rolling around in my heart and mind the last few days. Laurie’s warning to us as she wrapped up our Heart of a Woman study was very convicting. She said we can produce “fruit” by our flesh, that may appear good and beautiful to others, but it draws attention to us and not to Jesus. True fruit birthed by the Spirit in our lives points solely to Jesus. We get no credit…because well…we didn’t do anything to deserve the credit. It is all BY Him, THROUGH Him, and FOR Him.
And if I am brutally honest with you…this is a tough pill to swallow…because of that incessant fleshly root called pride. Deep down, I still want to be SOMEBODY and receive at least some of the glory. I still desire to have some known worldly value…being a good wife, mom, friend…a hip dresser, funny, smart….the list goes on and on.
But here is the tension, paradox, and GOOD NEWS. Laying down our lives for Christ is the death that brings life. We do not simply lose our identity or our value. Instead, it actually means that we gain a completely NEW identity and a worth in Christ. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old had passed away; behold, the new has come.” The identity He has given us and the plans and purposes He has for us compared to our own cleverly concocted identities and dreams are like comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds. Both may look beautiful outwardly, but only one has lasting value.
But lets be honest. This exchange of identity is scary. Why? Because He is now writing the story and we aren’t and the loss of control drives us crazy. And this is where the beautiful, messy, and dirty work of walking out our faith takes place. Jesus was so clear in His instructions, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). Crazy talk, I know. It’s the upside down way of the kingdom.
Remember what is at the bottom of the tree that produces a harvest of true righteousness…Christ. It isn’t you or me. And that is actually such good news. If we are daily laying down our plans and purposes and accepting His, we will be producing all kinds of amazing, sweet, beautiful fruit for Him and His kingdom. And guess who gets ALL the GLORY? Our Magnificent Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe (Psalm 145).
And we get this really awesome additional blessing. Every step of surrender and obedience we take by trusting in the love of our Heavenly Father more firmly establishes the kingdom in our hearts through faith, hope, and love. And that my friends, is a very lasting, eternal, and beautiful thing. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20)
Rooted in Christ