Self or Christ . . .

carry-crossWhich one shall live ?

     “Verily, verily, I say unto you (___________), Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit . . . He that loveth his life shall lose it; but he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto Life Eternal . . . !”     John 12:23-225

   “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the Life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of GOD, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me !”   Galatians 2:20

The most hopeless
, the most incurable of all sins is pride, self-sufficiency. This sin stands in the way of all advancement, all growth in grace. It has caused the ruin of thousands and thousands of souls. A man may be a great sinner, but if he realizes that he has sinned against God, if he repents and confesses his sin, and strives to make restitution for the past, he will receive forgiveness. God declares, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” His Promise to the contrite, repentant soul is, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”   Isaiah 1:18-19

But when a man is so filled with self-sufficiency that he can not see his faults, how can he be cleansed from sin? “They that be whole need not a physician.” How can a man improve when he thinks his ways perfect?

Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of . . . dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness !”     Matthew 23:25-27

Self-sufficiency was the ruin of the leaders of Israel. They did not come to Christ, because they did not think they needed a Saviour. They refused to admit that they cherished sins which needed to be repented of and forsaken.

And Jesus said, For judgment (decision, to distinguish) I Am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these Words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also ?

     Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth . . . !”   John 9:39-41

I Am come a Light into the world . . . !”John 12:46

And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil !”     John 3:19

For God, Who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light (revealing) of the knowing of God in the Face of Jesus Christ !”      II Corinthians 4:6
     Because, “This is Life eternal, that they might know Thee, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent . . . !” John 17:3

Many, many Christians are lacking in power because they are self-sufficient, because they do not feel the need of an abiding Christ. They suffer great loss; and the world, in need of their testimony, also suffers great loss. Lying in the darkness of error, the world needs the Light which those who claim to love and serve God, should reflect. But many who stand as witnesses of the Saviour exalt self. Jesus is hidden by poor, selfish humanity. The world does not see the pure, holy example that should be a bright and shining Light amid its darkness.

Some feel that in their Christian experience they have need of nothing more, that they are “rich and increased with goods.” Could they see themselves as God sees them, they would acknowledge that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made them aprons. And then they heard the Voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of the LORD . . .”    Genesis 3:7-9

To such the True Witness says, “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire,”–the gold of faith and love, –“that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,”–the robe of Christ’s righteousness, –“that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”     Revelation 3:18-22

In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the LORD (Jehovah, Yehuwah) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train (hem of garment) filled the temple . . . Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts . . . !”    Isaiah 6:1-7

Let no one who reads this description become discouraged and say, “If this is my condition, I can never be an acceptable witness for Christ.” Take the Word of God, and search its pages as never before, that you may learn what it means to be a Christian. You need not be discouraged; for the One Who died to save you declares, “Ye shall receive power,”–power to overcome self and selfishness, power to reveal Christ as He is, full of grace and Truth (unconcealed, Verity) !

In order to work for God successfully, we must die to self, surrendering all to God. In Words of great tenderness, Christ invites us, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you Rest” Matthew 11:28. When you respond to this invitation, when you learn what it means to find rest by lifting the cross and bearing it after the Lord, you will be true witnesses for Him. But until this lesson is learned, self will appear, and Jesus will be kept in the background.

Come to Christ, and His gentleness and love will break down the harsh, cold selfishness that prevents you from revealing Him to the world. Your hasty temper will be subdued, and your pride expelled.Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I Am meek and lowly (humble, gentle) in heart: and ye shall find Rest unto your souls !”     Matthew 11:29

Jesus will fill your heart with His gentleness, His patience, His love. Then you can lift Him up before sinners. Working for Him, you will lose all thought of self. For His dear sake you will be willing to endure shame and reproach.

The LORD says, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity (mischief, perversity), that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God.” “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”                                      Jeremiah 3:13 & Ezekiel 36:25

We must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that results in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save (deliver, set free, rescue, heal & make whole again). We must know our true condition, or we shall not feel our need of Christ’s help. We must understand our danger, or we shall not flee to the Refuge. We must feel the pain of our wounds, or we shall not desire healing.

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up . . . !”Hosea 6:1

ForI will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick . . . For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost !”
Ezekiel 34:16 & Matthew 18:11

Are you willing to cast down the idols you have cherished? Are you willing to let Jesus enter the heart to cleanse it from all that defiles? Are you at all times and under all circumstances, obtaining the mastery over yourself? Can you say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain !” Philippians 1:21.   I am His? Whatever I have, of time, or strength, or influence, all is His? Are you representing Him by your forbearance, your patience, your unselfishness? Are you learning to be like Him?

     God’s Word to us is, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. [Note: this is just as verily His Promise, as were the Living Words which He spake from mount Sinai in thunder and fire !]  He calls upon every one to crucify self. Those who respond grow strong in Him.

Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My Life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself !”     John 10:17-18

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His Life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for our brethren . . . !”     I John 3:16

They learn daily from Christ, and the more they learn, the greater is their desire to build up God’s kingdom by helping their fellow-men. The more enlightenment they have, the greater is their desire to enlighten others. The more they talk with God, the less they live to themselves. The greater their privileges, opportunities, and facilities for Christian work, the greater is the obligation they feel to work for others !

     Human nature is ever struggling for expression. He who is made complete in Christ must first be emptied of pride, of self-sufficiency. Then there is silence in the soul, and God’s Voice can be heard. Then the Spirit can find unobstructed entrance. Let God work in and through you. Then with Paul you can say, “I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me.”But until self is laid on the altar, until we let the Holy Spirit mould and fashion us according to the Divine similitude, we can not reach God’s ideal for us.
Christ said, “I am come that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly” This Life is what we must have in order to work for Christ, and we must have it “more abundantly” John 10:10.  God will breathe this Life into every soul that dies to self. But entire self-renunciation is required. Unless this takes place, we carry with us that which destroys our happiness and usefulness.

The Lord needs men and women who carry with them into the daily life the Light of a godly example, men and women whose words and actions show that Christ is abiding in the heart, teaching, leading, and guiding. He needs men and women of prayer, who, by wrestling alone with God, obtain the victory over self, and then go forth to impart to others that which they have received from the Source of power.

     God accepts those who crucify self, and makes them vessels unto honor. They are in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter, and He works His will through them. Such men and women receive spiritual power. Christ lives in them, and the power of His Spirit attends their efforts. They realize that they are to live in this world the Life that Jesus lived, –a life free from all selfishness; and He enables them to bear witness for Him that draws souls to the cross of Calvary.

– Special Testimonies, April 9, 1902
with Scripture references added in italics
Please contact Isaiah Ministries for more information on these and other Scripture Truths !

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