“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become, because He has made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up my self to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” – C.S. Lewis
If Lewis is near to the mark (and I think he is), a healthy sense of self is rooted in one’s surrender to God. Such surrender does not consist merely of one’s deeds (e.g., I want to do X, but I will do Y because that is what God is commanding of me). God is not so much after our time, our deeds, or our finances — although we ought to steward these things in accordance with His will — as He is after our selves.
The idea and priority of Christ’s lordship over our lives is primarily over my person, my identity, my self. If my soul, the very essence of my being, is submitted to God, then that will eventuate in His lordship over my deeds. So His lordship over the way I spend my time, the way I spend my resources, the way I think, live, and treat other people, doesn’t develop in a vacuum. Obedience in these matters is derived from a genuine, day-by-day surrender of the self to the Maker.
This means that I — who I am, as I am — must be surrendered to the Father on the most granular, fundamental level possible. My innermost being must be His. As the psalmist put it, He desires truth in the inward parts.
Thus, the base currency of lordship is relationship. As I relate to God an exchange occurs: I become more myself to the degree that I become like Him. I think of how we often “imprint” on certain individuals — a parent, a teacher, a friend — who influence us in ways so profound that we are actually shaped by them. What we each call “me” forever bears their unique stamp. The same thing happens when we spend time with God; but as our Creator, His stamp is the fundamental key to unlocking who we are and what we are supposed to be. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.
I find that I tend to think of Christian discipleship primarily as a commitment that is demonstrated in our actions. This is biblical, or course, but one-dimensional. What God calls for is for us to allow our very life-essence to be His. If I belong to Him in my person, then my deeds will follow suit. Paul states that we are the workmanship of God, created for good works in Christ. Discipleship, then, is allowing the craft and skill of Jesus to mold us from the inside out — from the micro to the macro level — so that the inner surrender of the self to God becomes light shining outwardly through us. Then, men will see our good deeds and give glory to Him.
aka The MonT-SteR