Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Learning Journal 12 - Personal Development

Since being at college I have found myself being reminded that first and foremost, I am a child of God. My identity and security are to be found in Him, not in what I do, what role I have or what badge I wear and when I neglect this simple truth I begin to struggle. There is a verse in Galatians that David Wenham highlighted during his course which keeps coming back to me. It is Galatians 2:20 ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ A key challenge for me is holding on to the personal, whilst discovering the wider social and political dimensions of the gospel. In recent years I have had my eyes opened to the fact that the gospel is more than personal, but I must remember that it is not less. Here is Paul unashamedly talking in personal terms of Jesus who loved him and died for him. Miroslav Volf talks about this verse in terms of de-centering and re-centering. My old selfish centre needed to be and has been crucified with Christ. At the same time, however, it has also been re-centered so that it is now Christ who lives in me. This does not mean I have completely lost my own identity - ‘By the process of de-centering the self did not lose a center of its own, but received a new center that both transformed and reinforced the old one… re-centering establishes the most proper and unassailable center that allows the self to stand over against persons and institutions which may threaten to smother it.’ If I can learn to live in the light of this truth, that the self-giving love of Christ lies at the centre of my own self, it should radically affect not only my own view of myself but the way I relate to others. This must be the basis of all ministry.

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