We see in the divine approach that Jesus takes in the Garden of Gethsemane toward this great challenge, a pattern for how we are to confront the difficulties and challenges in our own lives. Jesus was spiritually battling and overcoming the world’s sin, which is based upon rebellion and self-autonomy in mankind, by using the opposite, counter-balancing weapons of surrender, dependence, and reliance upon God the Father’s way instead of His own way (Lk. 22:34).
It took the direct opposite attitude of living for oneself, of putting one’s own interests first, of side-stepping a difficult situation, of saving one’s own skin, and of running away from a challenge, for Jesus to cancel out the sum total of mankind’s sin and fulfill His role as the Lamb of God sacrifice for sin. This is the part of the first advent, messianic scenario that the self-absorbed Lucifer totally miscalculated. This is how God used the short-sighted blindness of evil, rooted in self-centeredness, to turn the lowliness of the cross into the exalted glory of the resurrection for our benefit.
This is precisely why the cross of Christ, for man, is the way back to God (Isa. 53:6). The way back to God is not through self-autonomy or self-direction, using our God-given natural gifts and abilities independently apart from God. These are the “fallen” tendencies that got us into trouble to begin with in the Garden of Eden, that actually separated us from a relationship with God and that Jesus is redeeming us from on the cross.
In Isaiah 14:13-14, it is the “I will” portions of Lucifer’s statements “I will ascend into heaven” and “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God,” that is the official start of sin in the universe. Lucifer, like many of us today, thought he knew better than God. This is where the “I will do this and I will do that,” self-serving, God-less attitude comes from. By contrast, the example that Jesus sets for us with enormous personal difficulty in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the way that He opened up for us in life through His own painful death on the cross, is based upon the words: “nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”
Lucifer and unregenerate mankind, by contrast, hate the idea of submitting themselves to the loving and unselfish rulership of God in their lives to such an extent that they will actually go to the extreme measure of attempting to kill God Himself to get rid of this idea. When God willingly allowed Himself to be crucified through the Second Person of the Trinity, through Jesus the Son of God, He unmasked the truly evil character of the go-it-on-our-own-without-God approach to life.
Stubborn pride is that strong within self-autonomy. It will refuse God any participation in our lives if this participation infringes even a little upon our own will and way. That is why the world pushes Jesus Christ away. That is why the gospel message of love and forgiveness is so inexplicably offensive to the world.
This is the central issue at the core of our existence. When we are operating as our own god, atop the throne of our lives, we are lost. This is the root cause behind humanity’s problems. This issue cost Jesus Christ His life, on our behalf, through the cross. It will cost us death to our self-in-charge natures when we choose to follow Christ. An essential part of becoming born-again in the Spirit is not only acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior, but also restoring Him to His rightful position as Lord in our lives.