Have you ever had surgery? I prefer supernatural miraculous healing but sometimes there is stuff inside us that needs to be removed or fixed. When that happens, the doctor goes in with a really sharp instrument and cuts out the thing that doesn’t belong. Often he takes out some stuff around it so he will be sure to get all the bad stuff. Even with lasers and super sharp scalpels, there are some good parts that get removed or traumatized. The healing is often painful. But in the end we are better.
When God does surgery it is way different. When we come to Christ, we are born again, a new creation, a new heart, filled with a divine drive for good and more. Still there is the stubborn selfish prideful self that needs to be dealt with. We are completely righteous before God but find ourselves in an internal struggle. In the past we have taught that this struggle is normal, it is expected, it is a sign we are saved! That is true but there is so much more to Grace. God wants to do some surgery on us. He wants to cut out that selfish part of us. He is more that capable and willing. It is actually His plan to make it happen. His very nature, His guarantee, His word to us about Himself is the very instrument for the procedure. Check this out:
Heb 4:12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [g]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (AMP)
In the past I thought of this verse as one of those “feel the pain” kind of verses. I interpreted it as “read your Bible and learn about how inadequate you are and maybe you’ll have some motivation to get it together.” Too bad I missed the whole context. This verse is buried in the “enter His rest” section of Hebrews. The Israelites had an opportunity to enter into the promised land and enjoy the rest of God, His finished work from the creation of the world, but didn’t believe. Their unbelief was counted as disobedience and they got to wonder about in the desert for the next 40 years. God is telling us to not make the same mistake. He is also saying we are different. They were stuck with the Adam complex. There was no other option, no internal renewing available. We get to enter into His rest. Not only that but when we enter His rest we get to lay down on the operating table. If we will just let Him, He will go in with the sharpest instrument in the universe and cut out that selfish, unbelieving, do-it-ourselves mentality. Here is more of the passage:
Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.(ESV)
Verses 13-16 are so powerful. We don’t need to be afraid to lay down on the table. Jesus knows us, He knows how we are as selfish humans, He overcame selfishness through surrender, He is full of mercy and we are absolutely righteous and represented by the perfect High Priest. So lay down and relax. God will take care of it. How about this verse?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.(ESV)
Or maybe this one:
Phil 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (EsV)
Go back and look at the context, especially in Philippians. Paul is very clear that we can rely on God and stop relying on ourselves. As a matter of fact, the one thing that separates Jesus from all of the rest of humanity, was His willingness to humble Himself as a man in obedience to death. Paul says repeatedly how he wants to know the same surrender.
Don’t worry, the best parts of you, the parts of you that God designed and purposed for Him will remain. For example, I am a person who feels if one of something is good then 100 is really good. That is how I describe my own addictive behavior. When I was living from selfish self, pursuing a desire for pleasure I was destructive. Add a copious amount of alcohol and I was downright suicidal. Get the picture? Now I get to the point where I am really sick of it. I am so tired of struggling, I completely give up and stop trying to stop trying. I begged God to come in and do WHATEVER He needed to do. In the past I had asked Him to take the desire for alcohol away. Wrong prayer. Let me explain. God went in and removed the selfish desire. He replaced with God desire. Now I am so much addicted to Jesus! That is pretty awesome. He surgically removed the selfish part of self and left the personality He created me with. Oh by the way there is still more work to be done. I am ready to surrender anything He shows me must go, how about you?
It doesn’t hurt, trust me. Being free of yourself is so awesome! Stuff just doesn’t bother me like before. I really am at rest. Even when something unexpected rises up, I know that God has it in control and we can go back into surgery as required. I look forward to surgery. The recovery is eternal and liberating. It is the best physical therapy I have ever experienced!! Praise God!!