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The ultimate deliverance
- Jacob Ninan
Theologians say that the root of all sin is selfishness. We want things, pleasure, honour, etc., for ourselves, and therefore we tend to seek after them irrespective of whether God would be happy with the way we seek them or not. We put God aside whenever we choose our own way. A genuine conversion effects a drastic change in this self driven approach to life to where we begin to seek what is pleasing to the Lord. We are so overwhelmed by the love of God for us in forgiving our sins and accepting us that we are willing to do anything to be pleasing to Him (2Co.5:14,15). It doesn't mean that we become totally unselfish when we are born again. We begin on that way, and our growing in grace and in sanctification (which means being set apart for God and becoming like Him in a lifelong process) essentially amounts to being increasingly delivered from self-centred lives.
From being self-centred to what? Being God-centred, of course! Look at what a man like the apostle Paul found as the ultimate goal. He considered everything else as worthless compared to knowing Christ (Php.3:8). What he meant by 'knowing Christ' was much more than even knowing Him as his Saviour. He was thinking about 'being found in Him,' 'having His righteousness,' experiencing the 'power of His resurrection' and even the 'fellowship of His suffering' (v.9,10). This desire drove him to be pleasing to Him wherever he was (2Co.5:9), to be content with humble means or wealth (Php.4:11,12), to count it as a privilege to suffer for Christ in taking the gospel all across the world (1Co.9:16;2Co.6:4-10), etc.
We may not all be called to be apostles or to have prominent ministries. So if we are saved from self-centredness how will it look? We can see the secret from the way Jesus lived. He is the ultimate example!
What was the motive that drove Jesus as He lived on earth? We know that He came down to earth to die for us because He loved us. That was the ultimate thing that He accomplished. But what was it that characterised all that He did or said during His life on earth? First of all, He said that He had come down to earth to do His Father's will (Jn.6:38;He.10:7). All that He said or did was the will of the Father. Secondly, His desire was that the Father may be glorified in everything. When He knew that He was going to be killed, He chose that path joyfully because that was the way to glorify the Father (Jn.12:27,28). When He prayed with the disciples He rejoiced that He had glorified the Father so far in accomplishing His will (Jn.17:4). He asked the Father to glorify Him (Jesus) through death and resurrection, so that ultimately the Father could be glorified (v.1).
Our own ultimate deliverance is to have as our goal in life to glorify God, through all that we say and do. This means that the desire to glorify God overtakes our inclination to seek things for ourselves. Isn't this what we should pursue after?