Look.for.Christ

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for your-self, 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, Mere Christianity

Look.for.Christ

wow. Nothing I try to save will be. Nothing I set to the side to be protected will be. Nothing I withhold can be. Nothing that has not died can be raised from the dead.

I see it. The evidence around me that confirms the that those who look for self only find bad things. What a terrible list, yet we see it present in our daily lives: hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin & decay. How easy to look at my neighbor and see these things present, and yet how hard to see them as they hide in my self.

Such despair on our own. Stuck in the old self. Why do we want to save it to badly? Why can’t we give it up easily when it only brings us the bad? Can’t we see clearly in the reflection of the mirror, even for a moment?

But Christ… Look for Him & you will find Him. You will find Him. No more aimless searching- He promises us He will be found. We can have confidence that He is like the father of the prodigal son, running to meet us as we start down the road home.

and with finding Him? All the rest, everything else thrown in. It becomes less valuable to us because Christ is the true treasure, but it is all thrown in nonetheless. The new self, practically a consolation prize next to Jesus, yet glorious in&of itself. He throws it in. We won’t even worry about self anymore, yet it will be everything we’ve ever dreamed & hoped for.

Are you looking for Christ?

blessings,

gabrielle prose

Thank you so much for talking this journey with me about what it means to give up self. I had been so encouraged & challenged through it, and I pray you have as well!

check out the whole #write31Days series by hopping over to the home page!

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31 Days: Giving.up.Self

keep.nothing.back

Give up your self, 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 nothing back.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Keep.nothing.back

The upside down kindgom of Heaven. Give up self to find the real one. Lose life to save it. Submit to death & eternal life will be found. Who among us can truly fathom these mysteries of Heaven? Oh but we can do our best to understand. We can put our nose to the ground and follow the trail as best we can. We can’t give up without getting this- the whole of Christianity is found in here.

The call: keep nothing back. Give it all- throw it all away, blindly. Don’t think that only the bad stuff is what God wants. He wants it all. The whole tooth has to come out. The whole tree has to come down. The field has to be plowed up & re-sown. You can’t make it easier by only giving up half- it is hard to give up all. But easier than living divided between two masters.

Give up self. Submit. Submit with every fiber of your being. All of it. Keep nothing back.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

Plowed.up&re-sown

“If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

plowed.up.and.re-sown

It’s too hard. It’s impossible for us to remain ourselves & at the same time be ‘good’ enough. Our self is at war with the life He calls us too- our selfish desires fight us at every turn!

I like being good. I always have- I’m a rule-follower, goody-two-shoes. I struggle with pride in my ‘goodness’. Yet, I am fooled by my own ‘goodness’. It is still grass seeds growing up instead of wheat.

I need Jesus. He has to plow the field of my heart & sow the wheat seeds. I can only cut the grass & try to keep it at bay. Amazing.

As much as I am intimidated as I try to ‘die to self’, this is another analogy that I totally get. It’s too hard to be half & half. It accomplishes nothing- it’s a battle never won until you commit to one side or the other.

It’s easier to turn your whole self over- than to fight constantly with your self for who is in control. The struggle is exhausting. Christianity is both easier & harder. It’s hard to give up your whole self, but it’s easier than trying to keep a piece of it.

He change must go deeper than the surface.  I cannot rely on being good. It has to be below the surface to be real. The field has to be plowed up & re-sown.

will you let Him plow up the field of your heart today? He will replant it, and instead of growing grass, you can produce wheat. He makes something so much more valuable out of us than what we are.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

whole.tree.down

“I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

whole.tree.down

I do struggle with the idea of losing my natural self. It doesn’t seem that bad, right? But when you look at it as an ‘all or nothing’ idea, it makes more sense. It isn’t out of any dislike that we are called to give up self, but out of love.

The whole tree has to come down. It’s not in need of pruning, it’s in need of removal.

I think at many points in my life I have felt the Lord ‘pruning’ me. But is it just a step in the path of my death to self?

I appreciate the image of this analogy. It’s easy for me to understand (in the same way as the rotten tooth). We had a beautiful tree in our front yard that just split down the middle and fell over one evening. It had rotted from a hole in the center of the tree, and we couldn’t even see that it was rotting away right before our eyes. We were lucky it didn’t fall on our house.

But what did we do with the half a tree left in the yard? Had it taken down. It posed a huge theat to our house, and it had become too heavy on one side after the loss of one half. It became unstable.

Where does that leave us? In need of being brave. To step out in faith so that we can take the whole tree down. It needs to go. It’s rotten deep down in places we can’t see. We can be brave. We can trust. The whole tree needs to come down.

blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

a.living.Man

“It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianty

A.living.man

Christ is a man, and if I’m honest I don’t think of Him as one. I think if Him as God, but just looks like us in body. It is too far beyond my own brain how or what he was before becoming man, or how the duality comtinues. So when I picture Him, I think of my God, who happens to look like a man.

But if I’m still more honest, I think I see Him more in light in the trees & the beauty that surrounds me than I’ve ever felt His presence as a man sitting next to me. I’ve felt the comfort of Him, the peace of Him, the overwhelming beauty of Him which is the true beauty behind all I see as breathtaking. But I don’t often think of Him as a person, in the room, with whom I reside.

Why?

Why does Lewis say he’s at my side? Why does he describe Jesus in this way- so intimately close. Killing my old self, and giving me His self instead.

Why do my feelings of uneasiness rise? Because the Spirit of the Lord is my comfort, but I don’t know how to react to the real, living Jesus in the room with me?

I have only pictures being in the room with Jesus in Heaven, when He is lifted up as the lamb worthy. When I am in the crowd and just see Him at a distance.  I who am unworthy, who lay any crown I could possibly have at His feet.

He, here with me?!? I become so undone. Jesus the living man, here with me? Jesus, Son of God.

As much as I’m disturbed by the idea that my self has to be killed, I’m honestly more amazed that Jesus, a living man, is here with me. If Jesus is here with me?? He can have anything, everything. I cannot move past the doorstep on this one.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

at.your.side

“The real Son of God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself. He is beginning, so to speak, to “inject” His kind of life and thought, His Zoe, into you…”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

at.your.side

We are not alone. He, the real Son of God, is here. By my side. He is with me.

He is doing the work, making my like Himself. Transforming me, redeeming me. He is present. Giving me his Zoe, the eternal life. I am passing from death to life; I am being made new.

What comfort to have Jesus at my side. Much of our days we feel so alone- the deception of the enemy. We feel the weight of our sin, crushing us beneath. The defeat of the enemy. Jesus, but Jesus is at my side. I am not alone. I am not crushed. He is with me.

On this morning when my brain still feels asleep- when my dishes sit undone & my sons’ laundry needs folded & my body needs a shower. I feel stuck in all the undone, waiting for the coffee & sunshine to awaken my spirit to become the cheerful servant. He is at my side.

The real, living true Son of God. At my side. Because He loves me.

Lord, thank you. For being with me. For your presence. How can I forget that you’re there? Help me remember. Amen.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

have.it.out

“I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked- the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

have.it.out

What’s so bad about the natural self? Isn’t the work of sanctification upon my sinful self? Why must the self die?

Because it’s rotten the whole way through.

The whole thing must come out. Have it out! You cannot renovate it, it must be done. Why do we want to try limping along with our mamed self, when He will give us Himself?

Lewis says many of us live our lives with all the ‘bad’ stuff sorted out, but we still keep the rest. We live divided between satisfying self and living in Christ. We imagine we’ve given over all we need to, but we still don’t give it all.

How do we? How can we stop being part time followers?

I’m the poster child. I live some days in service to Christ & some in service to myself. I forget the daily picking up if the cross, and my self is left in charge by forfeit. I forget. My eyes lose their focus on Christ & start swimming with all that swirls around me.

So why does the self have to die? Why not just mere improvement? Because we miss the opportunity, the grace being given. The transformation is part of the mystery, the wonder of what Christ could do, is doing, will do. The familiar is known, and the future unknown. But our God is good, and we can trust Him. More than that, He becomes us, come beloved! We can rest.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

 31 Days: Giving.up.Self

harder.and.easier

“The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All.  I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

harder.and.easier

 I have been mulling over these dichotomous truths as I linger over these ideas of self… the laying down, throwing away, dying, crucifying of self & the invitation to real self, the gift of the new life, the beckoning to become a son, the ushering into the Zoe. One seems so hard and the other so easy.

How funny that C.S. Lewis writes about the exact thing I’ve been sorting out? The journey down this path has lead me in circles, and yet it makes sense. They are intimately connected. The hard and the easy.

Jesus says, come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. But how do we rest with all the dying we have to do? His yoke is easy and His burden is light. But how in this world where we struggle daily?

The key is as it has been all along: Christ. As we shift our focus from the self and all the burdens, we gaze upon Christ, and in His great mercy, he carries our burdens for us. Remember? He says he will do the work- we have to trust & follow. Can I shift my gaze, even continually in my daily so that I can resist being consumed by self?

The end of the quote is how Lewis explains that it’s not just a part of us that we give to God. He wants it all- we cannot give Him just the small bits and truly be His. No wonder we feel so torn by self! We are fighting the urge to satisfy self as we seek to be the slave of Christ.

It is the same as the parable of the pearl of great price. We would sell everything we had in order to buy it, if we understood. But do we? Do we grasp the beauty & the value? Do we hear how beautiful our Lord is but feel nothing in our heart? Oh to catch the glimpse of Him- a fleeting taste of His beauty to remind my heart.

Oh that we may not be weighed down by the hard, but that we can be wooed again by the easy. His grace to us!

blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

lose.your.life

“Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

lose.your.life

The upside down nature of the kingdom of Heaven is so difficult to understand for us. We try to apply the ideas in a way that makes sense to us, but it doesn’t work. Trying to actively ‘give up self’ sometimes leads me to focus too much on myself! But when I stop focusing on me, and put my focus on Christ or on the service to others, then it comes when I’m not trying.

Again, it sounds intimidating to ‘lose your life’. Very similar to ‘being crucified with Christ’.  I love how the Lord sets us free from the scariness of these ideas by allowing it to happen when we aren’t focused on ourselves. I’m so grateful for the transformation He is doing when I’m not looking for it.

Lewis says how many other things in life are like this- come when we aren’t looking for them. Like trying to be cool in a social setting or trying to be original in writing. If you try too hard, you fail. But when you quit focusing on ‘doing it’ you succeed without realizing it happened. If we could do it I n our own power, we would never trust Christ to do it for us.

So let go. Stop trying to do it for yourself. Open up your Bible and find a scripture to meditate on today. I’ll share mine.

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”

Psalm 12:23

lets lose our lives today by not focusing on self today, but by focusing on Christ & serving those in our lives. May the Lord renew us today as we lay down our lives!

blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self

Crucified.with.Christ

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.”

Romans 6:6, NLT

crucified.with.Christ

I have often felt a sense of fear when it comes to the Biblical reference above. The idea of being ‘crucified’ with Christ wasn’t something that was easy to understand or easy to joyfully embrace as part of my journey.

I’ve often read authors or heard pastors who take the ‘spider over the open flames of hell’ approach when it comes to this passage. They shame us for being afraid of the cost & urge us to ‘take up the cross daily’ as we are also called to do in scripture.

I’d like to propose that it’s not weakness to tip toe on this passage. I think all of us can relate to being afraid of what we will have to suffer, what we will lose, or what trials we will face. It seems so ominous, so foreboding. The hill of crucifixtion looms ahead in the distance, & I feel chided by these teachers for being afraid.

Instead, I think as I understand the new self, the new man, the new birth, & the passing into the Zoe instead of the biological, I can face these passages without fear. It comes from resting in what Christ has done, how he makes me into the new, how he perfects me & creates the ‘little Christ’ in me. It provides me with so much comfort&confidence that I can walk into the ‘carry your cross’ passage & the ‘crucified with Christ’ passage knowing He is doing it.

Remember? He is the author of it all. None of this mysterious transformation is my doing. No redemption comes from me. Why do I feel all this pressure to crucify myself & carry the cross myself? He is doing it in me.

So, no. It isn’t ‘glossing over the tough passages’ in the Bible if I am still indimidated by these ideas. It doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. It means that I take it very seriously. And that I know I cannot do it on my own.

Blessings,

gabrielle prose

31 Days: Giving.up.Self