Jesus doesn’t just help us; he does everything for us…as us. He’s not our example, he’s our substitute! We’ve been pressured to emulate Jesus, in both word and deed. We’ve been led to believe that after his resurrection, Jesus left. (Nevermind his promise to never leave.) He came down, cleaned up our mess and then vanished. It’s up to us now; we’ve got to finish what he started. There’s a lot of work to do. We’ve got to “stay out” of our old nature and renew our mind. I mean, Jesus couldn’t do everything for us! That’s ridiculous.
Well, he did! Jesus obeyed his law and then carried our cross, so that he could die with us…as us. Let’s not glaze over that last part; we died! Our death certificate is perhaps the best gift of all. Understanding this truth is the key for the wine cellar! And it all starts with brokenness.
I like to use the word broken because that’s what it feels like at first. It’s a place where we stop doing, stop trying, and stop depending (on ourselves). We become 100% dependent on Dad and the finished work of Jesus. Actually, a better word is dependency. Being dependent means we do nothing but receive. Sounds pretty good, huh? Because it is! Somewhere along the way, though, we were told to become “mature” and do things ourselves. Ok, well let’s keep that in mind and find out if Jesus was mature.
The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing. (John 5:19)
By myself, I can do nothing. (John 5:30)
Wow, how embarrassing. The creator of the universe was actually quite immature! He never grew up. Or maybe he did, and he was just being modest there. What about Paul? Did he attain the level of maturity that Jesus lacked?
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10)
Wow. Not only was Paul immature, but proud of it! And he exaggerated. I mean, do we seriously believe he “delighted in hardships”?
Yes! Yes we do. But the better question is why did he delight in hardships? Do we also delight? Yes! We delight in hardships because… they break us!! (Quick disclaimer: Hardships are NOT from God. Jesus told us his yoke is easy.) However, when hardships do come, we’re quickly reminded that we no longer live. And if we no longer live, then who lives in us? Jesus!! What does this mean? It means when hardships come, we retreat back into Dad’s arms and do what we do best: receive. We allow him to do everything.
After we died with Jesus on the cross, Dad created a new species of human beings with DNAs intertwined with his son. (I’m not sure if that’s exactly what happened, but imagining this helps us see the incredible union we have with Jesus.) We don’t have a “separate” relationship with Dad. Jesus’ relationship is now our relationship. His mind is now our mind. His power is now our power. His favor is now our favor. We are one and the same!
So bring on the trials! They remind us to get out of the way; quickly and effectively. We can then relax and feel the torrent of living water surging from within, always refreshingly powerful!