Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MMM: I Am Not the Christ

Who's joining us in memorization this month? And how is it going?

First up, Elijah's progress report :) After working on Luke 2:1-14, these little one-verse bites are cake for him. He's got Genesis 1:1, no problem. This week we're working on Matthew 6:24a - "No one can serve two masters." One added bonus to working on these verses with him is that it gives me an easy jumping off point for talking about the Lord with him. I've tried to spend some time explaining what the verses mean--though I know it's over his head, he may be absorbing more than I realize, and I need the practice!

As for me, I've got the prologue--John 1:1-18--down. I've missed a couple of days but I think I can still finish the first chapter by the end of this month. I'm continuing my practice of journaling/praying through each day's verses, in addition to the out-loud repetitions, as I think it helps me go deeper and really reflect on the words rather than just rushing through a cerebral memorization exercise.

This morning I worked on v. 19-20: "And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." I noticed that while we tend to identify ourselves in positive terms, here, the most important part of John's identity is what he is NOT: I am not the Christ. Such adamance here--confessed, did not deny, confessed--making it absolutely clear that this is not the Messiah. And in emphasizing this, it heightens expectation that there IS someone coming who fills this role.

I wondered how I can and should echo John's testimony: I am not the Christ...

I am not the Christ. I am the mother. My job is not to save my children, to transform their hearts through the perfect discipline methods and make them follow Jesus. I am simply a tool in His hands to point them to Him, whom they need more than they need me.

I am not the Christ. I am the wife. My role is not to change my husband, but to respect and encourage and pray for him, trusting that God wants him to grow in Christlikeness even more than I do and knows how best to make that happen.

I am not the Christ. I cannot save myself. I cannot at any moment, before or after regeneration, earn God's favor and acceptance. I cannot change my own heart; I cannot walk in perfect obedience; I cannot make myself holy enough to enter His presence. My hope is not in my willpower, my knowledge, my success.

But I *have* a Savior, thanks be to God! There IS a Christ--Jesus the Christ--and He came for me! He had and deserved God's favor, and bestowed it on me. He sent His Spirit to breathe life into my dead soul and replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He walked in perfect obedience, and imputes that righteousness to me. He sits at the right hand of God and invites me to come boldly to the throne of grace. I am NOT the Christ--my hope is in the true Christ, Jesus the One and Only.


Anna said...

Amen - I'm inspired by your thoughts here and your memorization. I'm taking baby steps in that direction.

Also, I was reminded of this article I just happened to have read:

Amy said...

Anna, that article prompted some of my thinking on this :)

Ali said...

I vividly remember Josh using this phrase in a sermon one time and how striking it was to hear someone say, "I am not the Christ". Thanks for this post and the needed reminder!

May I borrow the meat of it for our women's retreat? We're sharing examples of legacy - ready stories and women's words aloud throughout the weekend. This would fit very well.

I'm always blessed by reading your musings on Scripture.

Ali said...

"reading" not ready. Oops. :(

Amy said...

of course, Ali - thanks! :)