This independence of God and dependence on the world is often referred to as “the flesh” – trying to get satisfaction from our natural abilities rather than letting our Maker use them to express his Son’s life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote to the people at Philippi “if any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel – as to righteousness under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things that I may know him and the power of his resurrection”. This self-made feeling we have – this pride in what we regard as our own abilities and strengths is what our Maker has permitted us to experience so that we can see its limitations and unreality and can embrace instead our true nature as part of his only Son. It is this choosing that is the whole purpose of our life here on earth! It is why He made us part of his Son and then asked his Son (with us inside Him) to live an earthly life in Palestine so that he could reject for our sakes the lie of the self-existent, independent life and live the unassuming life of God himself. Each of us accepts here either the self-made version or the self-denied version of our life in God’s Son. The one is fed by the adulation and support of people and things; the other is fed by the love of our Maker for us.
This is the self-existent attitude that gives us such trouble and plagues our everyday life and relationships - this attitude within that strives to be noticed and admired. It is the very basis of our feeling of self-worth and value, yet it is constantly under attack from six billion other such natures around us. All the dreadful demons of pride and jealousy spring from this confidence we have in our own self-made self-worth; all the restless drives of ambition and boasting come from this twisted desire for adulation and recognition. It seems as if our lives are designed to expose this gross misconception we have of our own inherent value and talent despite the simple fact that we are here to enjoy our Maker’s Son living in us his buoyant, inspired life. What took place in eternity, before the world was created, destroyed that parody of ourselves in Christ of whom we are a part. This was the cosmic event that surfaced in time in Jerusalem on the hill of Golgotha in the man known as Jesus of Nazareth – and, of course, it’s the very change that we have been created to experience personally here in our life on earth. What it involves is the very personal acquiescence that Paul described to the Ephesians when he said “whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ – for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things that I may know him and the power of his resurrection”. The only way you can avoid the reluctant resignation to fate that human religion urges for this hubris is the boundless joy of identification with your death and resurrection in God’s Son. Just as he “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself” of his infinite nature, so he did the same with you personally so that you can accept the same peace and rest about your status and reputation.This “carrying about in the body the dying of our Lord Jesus” means joyfully turning moment-by-moment from the mirage of the world’s praise and approval and choosing the apparent loneliness of God’s side. There alone is the reality of our Maker’s own nature which puts everything before itself. In that inherent self-denial rests the heart of living in reality. Why do you think you should be famous? Because there is literally no other human being just like you – you are unique – but only because your Maker’s only Son intends to live a unique version of himself through you! Your preoccupation with self-esteem and others’ opinions is fuelled by your unwillingness to allow Christ’s annihilation of that in himself to be actualized in you today. He has borne the eternal miracle – will you accept its temporal actualization today ?