Monday, March 21, 2011

I No Longer Live

Galatians 2:20
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I read this passage, and pondered on what it was teaching me - what God wanted me to discover through this - and a simple question popped into my head: "Am I living, or is Christ living through me?" Even as I wrote that question, the implications flooded my mind. Sure, there's the "sin factor" that Paul is writing about - the things that would immediately surface... and those can't be ignored. Chambers writes:
"The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature."
The selfish, hot-tempered, impulsive, and fearful ways of our past (and sometimes our present) must cease to be... they have been crucified with Christ... we have been freed from those things. We no longer have to live as slaves to our own lusts, but as free men (and women) to experience all that God desires for us.

The reality for all of us, however, is that these do show their ugly faces from time-to-time... even after we've given our lives to Christ. I think one thing that Chambers helped me discover this morning is that Paul wasn't talking about the level of Christianity that many of us may assume... he didn't say in this passage that he would work hard to "imitate Christ," or that he was devoting himself to "following Christ." He said that he had been crucified with Christ - that's a level of surrender that goes beyond imitation and following, and implies a complete death to self... and only then can, as Chambers puts it, "all that Christ accomplished for me on the cross (be) accomplished in me."

Am I living, or is Christ living through me?

Let's get beyond the typical and obvious "sins" that we tend to focus on, and explore something a little more cloaked by the justification of the American Dream. If Christ is living through me, how does that impact my priorities? Specifically, my time, my money, the things I set myself toward to achieve, accomplish, and attain? It's easy to read this passage and think, "Okay, I need to stop cussing, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. etc." But what if Paul is also teaching us that we need to stop living in the sense that we strive to achieve that quality of life that society tells us we deserve. Instead, let Jesus Christ live through us, as we have been crucified with Him... it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives through me. It's no longer my goals, agendas, material wants, and status that drive me - no longer my sin and selfishness that define me - but the life-changing, soul-saving love of Christ that moves me.

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