by Neil Anderson
For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure
We present Jesus as the Messiah who came to die for our sins. We tell people that if they accept Christ they will go to heaven when they die. What’s wrong with that? First, it’s only half the gospel. Second, it gives the impression that eternal life is something we get when we die. Jesus had to die for sins in order to cure the disease that caused us to die. Then He gave us life, making us new creations in Christ.
Suppose that you are a prostitute. One day you hear that the king has decreed that all prostitutes are forgiven. Since you’re a prostitute, that’s great news! But would it necessarily change your behavior or your self-perception? Probably not. You may dance in the streets for awhile, but chances are you would continue in your same vocation. You would see yourself as nothing more than a forgiven prostitute.
Now suppose the king not only forgave you, but he made you his bride as well. You’re a queen. Would that change your behavior? Of course. Why would you want to live as a prostitute if you were a queen?
The church is the bride of Christ! You are far more likely to promote the kingdom if you are the queen rather than a forgiven prostitute. We are not redeemed caterpillars; we are butterflies. Why would you want to crawl in some false humility when you are called to mount up with wings as eagles?
“I would be filled with pride if I believed that,” says the skeptic. You are defeated if you don’t believe it! Humility is not putting yourself down when God is trying to build you up. Self-abasement has the appearance of wisdom, but it has no value against fleshly indulgence according to Colossians 2:23. Humility is confidence properly placed. We need to be like Paul and “put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). Let’s put our confidence in God: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Prayer: Lord, thank You for not only forgiving me but also for taking me as Your bride. May this realization shape my walk with You today.