July 14, 2009

Where Is My Phone Booth? - Elsie Montgomery

My son took a face book quiz that told him he would live to be 104. I teased him. Would he now take more risks? Eat more cake? Leap tall buildings in a single bound? He responded, “That would give away my secret identity.”

After that bit of fun, it occurred to me that I’ve often lived my Christian life as if it were a secret identity. God created in me something new, but instead of living that new life in the power and confidence that goes with it, I fearfully shrink back into the attitudes and behavior of my sinful self.

Some verses from the Bible bring this to my attention. (Notice, they are about working out my salvation, which means making it work. This is not about working for my salvation. I don’t have to, nor can I do that.)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
As these verses point out, an obedient and productive Christian life is directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. God works in me so that I can live the life He wants me to live. I do not do it myself.

This is a supernatural life and foreign to the old life. When I am thinking as my old self used to think, such a life seems impossible and unattainable. The old me has no confidence in God and now, after years of being a Christian, very little confidence in

I never used to be like that. I once thought I could do anything, but years of walking with God (however on and off that has been) have taught me that in myself I can do nothing. Instead of being cocky and sure of what I can do, I feel incapable and even reluctant to try most things, even those things that were once easy for me. While I understand this realization is a necessary part of Christian growth, I do not like the sense of weakness that goes with it.

At the same time, I know the verses that say God’s strength is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9, etc.) and feeling weak is not a bad thing. It is just that I tend to use that sense of “I can’t do it” as an excuse to not do it, to disobey God. Hence, the power that belongs to my new nature is hidden, like a secret identity.

I know that supernatural living is about conforming my outer life to my inner life, and living out the new nature that I have in Jesus Christ. This is “not a mystical, undefined life based on abstract philosophical concepts” but a practical life that flows out of deliberate obedience to God’s commands, no matter how I feel.

Therefore, obedience in the face of weakness is my challenge and my solution. Superman had to step out of his Clark Kent costume before he was seen as the man of steel. I have to step out of my old way of thinking and obey God in all situations, regardless of how inadequate I feel. Otherwise, my true identity will remain a secret.

(Adapted from the original post at Practical Faith)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Super Girl Elsie!
    What a wealth of truth. How true. I will 100% attest to the fact that God's strength is perfected in weakness...forced or otherwise. It's not hard to do - to conform our outer life to our inner life - it just takes focus, practice and patience. We will never fully arrive, but I am convinced we are pleasing God when we do our best. x


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