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Virginia Brandt Berg's Meditation Moments


Virginia Brandt Berg (1898-1968)

"SELF LIFE"

Meditation Moments 80:

Once I was lost
In sin's degradation
And Jesus came down
To bring me Salvation
He lifted me up
From sorrow and shame,
Now I belong to Jesus.
Not for the years
Of time alone
But for eternity!

I believe it will be profitable to you if you'll truly meditate on these thoughts that we bring you from our heart. And thinking of our Meditation, my mind traveled back to a day before the Second World War when we were visiting in a home in the South.

The son of the family was leaving the next day for the army and we had been invited in for the farewell. "Would you like to see some of my pictures that I took on a recent trip through Canada?" the young man asked us. And as he projected the pictures on the silver screen, I watched in amazement,

For in every picture the scenery was obscured by his own image standing prominently in front of some very beautiful view. There was himself blotting out a scene in the Canadian Rockies, himself obscuring a rural scene in Quebec.

Himself so filling the picture that there was little else to be seen but self. Just filling all the pictures was himself and it was hard to find any scenery!

And so it was in all his conversation: He sang a song of self, he talked a song of self. It was a sweet melody to his own ears, but it becomes very tiresome to others.

Well, the pictures told a story that "self" had gone on this wonderful journey, and "self" was all he'd brought back! The wonders of it were lost to him because he saw only himself, and felt only himself, and cared for himself; but how different the story later on!

After the war we ran across this young life again as we visited the same territory. He had seen front line battle a number of times, and he had been severely wounded, his buddies had died by his side, and the chaplain he had loved so much had given his life in one sacrificial act of great courage.

And out there one day in no man's land, impaled on a barbed wire fence, "self" died, and was buried for ever. After a while we asked, "Did you bring back any pictures?" "Just a few" he said, "Would you like to see them?"

And in that handful of pictures there was not one picture of himself! Self indeed had been wiped from every scene. Now, although he was a sufferer, he was active in service for others, and "self" had lost itself completely in the great needs about him.

He was a sufferer indeed, and crippled severely, but never once in our visit in that home did he mention his own need, did he ever talk of his pain, or of himself. I thought of this Verse of Scripture in John 12:24,

"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." -- It's a strange paradox that life will come out of death. Except you die, you'll never truly live, just as the paradox, except you give forth you can't truly take in.

"Give and it is given unto you." But "If you withhold more than is meet it tendeth to poverty" (Lk.6:38, Pro.11:24.) -- These wonderful Verses teach us this lesson. And so in the end of this Verse from God's Word, this last line:

"It abideth alone" -- This is the loneliness of the "self" life. If you're not willing to die, there is this loneliness. "Except a corn of wheat fall in the ground and die, it abides alone," this is why the "self life" is so stunted and impoverished.

The one who lives so self-absorbed and enwrapped, and self-pitying, with the idea that the whole universe revolves around them, they live the loneliest of lives, they indeed abide alone. And so many times they feel the utter futility of life.

Someone has wisely said that the smallest package in all the World is a man wrapped up in himself, and that surely is true! But how different the life of a real Christian, a dedicated Christian, where self has died! They've been crucified with Christ and they've been born again a new creature.

As Paul said, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me." (Gal.2:20) -- No more self-absorption, no more self-motives in life, but motivated by Christ within, he loses his life in larger interests: In the wealth of satisfaction from an outpoured life.

An outpoured life instead of an ingrown life! The promise is, "If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This new life, the Christ-life that has taken over, will suffer for others, it's true, it will expend itself;

It will bleed for the suffering, but oh, what a harvest of fruitfulness there is! It indeed brings forth much fruit because it has germinated into communion with others, it has germinated into fellowship with God and into a self-forgetfulness which brings rest, joy and riches eternal.

If you are suffering the loneliness of the egoist, the one whose whole world is "self," the one who never gets away from himself, then take this Verse from God's wonderful Word, and ask the Lord to take you out of yourself and into Him. Seek Him, yield to Christ.

Yield all of self, present your body to Him a living sacrifice, as that Word says: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, which is holy, acceptable unto God."

And he adds, "Which is your reasonable service!" (Rom.12:1) -- A living sacrifice that He may come in and abide, living out His Life through you until you can say with Paul, "Christ liveth in me!" And that Verse in Colossians will be fulfilled in you, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col.3:3)

This is the happy life! This is the useful life, and the life that knows no real loneliness! Now with the death of self there are heights of joy that you have never known. As the old song goes:

Lift me up and let me stand

By faith on Heaven's Tabor land.

A higher plain than I have found,

Lord plant my feet on higher ground!

I want to live above self

Though Satan's darts at me are hurled,

For faith hath caught the joyful sound

The song of saints on higher ground.

Lord lift me up and let me stand

By faith on Heaven's Tabor land.

A higher plain than I have found,

Lord plant my feet on higher ground!

And "higher ground" is the Christ life, supplanting the self life! Out of self and into Him gives victory! Try it, give God a chance! The Lord Jesus Christ can completely change your life.

Nothing can better depict the Christian life, the life that's hid with Christ in God where it's none of self and all of Christ, than the words of this song, and I think it so well portrays the words of Scripture in Colossians 3 -- that's one of my favorite chapters!

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. And set your affections on the things above, and not on the things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

"And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then ye shall also appear with Him in glory." (Col.3:1-3) -- And so the Christian life is a life that's hid with Christ in God. Isn't it wonderful to have the life hid away above all the turmoil and strife of the world?

And so I say, the words of this song depict what is to me a real picture of the Christian life:

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night

Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,

Jesus I come.

Out of my sickness

Into Thy health,

Out of my want

And into Thy wealth,

Out of my sin

And into Thyself,

Jesus I come.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,

Jesus I come.

Into the glorious gain of the Cross,

Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of Earth's sorrows

Into Thy balm,

Out of life's storm

And into Thy calm,

Out of distress

To jubilant psalm,

Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,

Jesus I come.

Into Thy blessed will to abide,

Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,

Out of despair into raptures above,

Upward forever I fly on wings like a dove,

Jesus I come to Thee!

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb

Jesus I come.

Into the joy and light of Thy home,

Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of the depths of ruin untold,

Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,

Ever Thy glorious face to behold,

Jesus I come to Thee!

-- That's the life that's really hid with Christ in God, for ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God!

We don't have to worry about what's going to happen to us, when we're so firmly in His hands and our life is hid away with Jesus Christ! Are you giving God a chance? Have you gotten before the Lord recently and taken a good look at yourself and just see how you look in God's sight?

God looks down into your heart and talks to you and lets you see yourself as you really are. We are deceived so many times and we just go along, feeling as if we're all right, when sometimes we need to get right down before God and give Him a real chance.

Get a good look at "self" and see if your life is really hid away with Christ in God. Then there is the wonderful promise that we just read, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory!" (Col.3:4) -- God bless you.

Copyright © 2009 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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