Jesus didn’t say, “Whoever believes in me, every blessing they receive will be theirs to keep.” He said, “Whoever believes in me, every blessing they receive will escape from them.” Our Lord’s teaching is always anti-self-realization. His purpose isn’t to develop our personal qualities. It’s to make us exactly like him—and his chief characteristic is self-sacrifice.

If we believe in Jesus, it isn’t what we gain but what he pours through us that counts. God doesn’t turn us into beautifully rounded grapes; he squeezes sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we can’t measure our lives by success. We can only measure them by what God pours through us—and we can’t measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany broke a box of precious perfume and poured it over Jesus’s head, no one else thought the act necessary. Even the disciples were scornful. “‘Why this waste?’ they asked” (Matthew 26:8). But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion. He said that wherever his gospel was preached, “what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (v. 13). Our Lord is carried away by joy whenever he sees any of us acting as Mary did, abandoning ourselves to him with no thought of the cost.

“Whoever believes in me . . .” If we believe in Jesus, hundreds of lives will continually be refreshed through us. It’s time to break our ceaseless craving for personal satisfaction. God poured out the life of his Son so that the world might be saved. Are we ready to pour out our lives for him?

Wisdom from Oswald

We begin our Christian life by believing what we are told to believe, then we have to go on to so assimilate our beliefs that they work out in a way that redounds to the glory of God. The danger is in multiplying the acceptation of beliefs we do not make our own. Conformed to His Image, 381 L