The Crossed-Out I Life
Before King David gave his son Solomon the plans for The Temple complex he said, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9a).
Confession time. More often then I’d like to admit when God searched the motives behind my service, they fell far short of His command that my attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). I’ve volunteered out of a desire to fix and rescue the project, rather than to love and serve people. I’ve stepped into neighborhoods that looked different than mine out of selfish ambition or vain conceit instead of humbly considering them better than myself (Philippians 2:3). That service may have looked admirable on the outside, but the lukewarm waters that God saw when He searched my heart and mind must’ve made Him sick.
Four years into Dr. Helen Roseveare’s twenty-year service (1953-1973) to God in Africa she became aware of some wrong motives in her service, too. It was a Sunday evening when Pastor Ndugu and his wife Tamoma called her out to the fireside to talk and pray. He showed her some impure, hidden areas of her heart that pertained to race prejudice. She said, “The Spirit forced me to acknowledge that subconsciously I did not really believe that an African could be as good a Christian as I was, or could know the Lord Jesus or understand the Bible as I did.”
Pastor Ndugu opened his Bible to Galatians 2:20. With his heal, he draw a straight line in the dirt floor. “I,” he said, “The capital I in our lives, Self, is the great enemy . . .
“Helen . . . the trouble with you is that we can see so much Helen that we cannot see Jesus.”
Her eyes filled with tears and Pastor Ndugu’s object lesson continued. He drew another line in the dirt across the I he had previously drawn and said, “May I suggest that you lift your heart to God and pray, ‘Please, God, cross out the I.’”
Helen wrote, “There in the dirt was his lesson of simplified theology – the Cross – the crossed-out I life.” I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
PASSION Step: What is central to your service: Your ego or Christ’s life in you? Zealously serve with a crossed-out I life.