The Life I Live in the Flesh

The Life I Live in the Flesh… 9/29/19 Most of you are probably aware by now that my Scripture passage for the year is Galatians 2:20.  Honestly, I’m not sure a single year will be enough time to ponder this passage. As I’ve meditation on this passage, as I’ve studied it and made application from it, I am constantly astounded by what God asks of us, by what God has done for us, and the power that He makes available to us.  This passage is important enough that it bears providing for your review; Galatians 2:20 ~ 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.[1] What does it mean to have been crucified with Christ?  To begin with, it means that we are constrained from participating in our old lives that were a part of our “BC” (before Christ) days.  I am no longer free to pursue the corrupt entertainment that I used to enjoy.  I’m no longer free to see people as a means to an end rather than individuals who have intrinsic value as the image bearers of God. It also tells me that my cooperation is required.  Just as no one nailed the Son of God to the cross without Him allowing it, this is also true for me.  I have been crucified with Christ, assuming this is true, because I have allowed this to take place.  As I do so, all that once defined me is dying.  Crucifixion is a slow process.  The victim does not die all at once, it takes time, and it hurts.  The self-mortification associated with my crucifixion is not easy, and it is not something that I would choose for myself.  But it is necessary. What do I lose?  I lose all of my sin.  I lose everything that separates me from my heavenly Father.  I lose self-centeredness, and wrath, and malice, and impurity, and back-biting, and anything else that stands contrary to God’s purposes in my life.  Is that complete in me?  Heavens no!  I am still being crucified, but the process has started. What do I gain.  Christ lives in me.  There is nothing in the spirit-realm that can touch me since I already belong to the King.  In place of my fallen nature, the nature of Jesus, who is loving and pure and kind and gentle, begins to be expressed through me.  Now there is power to live a life of peace and joy, because the One who knows how to live is in control (at least as much as I allow the process of being crucified to continue). I gain a life with purpose.  This is not a life of rules, it is a life that knows what God desires of me and does it out of love.  I know that I’ve been placed on this planet to enjoy my Creator, and to share Him with those around me.  I’m given all the things that I need to be truly joyful… right now.  Frankly, in spite of what our materialistic society will tell us, those “things” are not things at all.  My big screen TV will not bring me happiness, although through judicious use I may be edified by what I watch.  But my happiness is not wrapped up in my house or my car, or any other possession, which by the way, is falling apart even as I use them.  The question is, how willing am I to cooperate with God?  The question is, how willing am I to walk by faith now, rather than by my own reasoning?  Frankly, my own earthly wisdom will be wrong most of the time.  By my own reasoning, it is crazy to help someone else, I might need that money someday.  It is crazy to love those who hate me, frankly it’s hard enough to love those who love me!  But, I see that Jesus tells me to love those who not only hate me, but are actively seeking to harm me, or even tougher, have already deeply harmed me.  However, a failure to do as Jesus asks, although it may feel right, actually puts me in bondage to that person.  Bitterness begins to eat from the inside out until we are consumed.  It would seem that Jesus knows best, and the only reasonable response is to obey Him even when I do not understand.  Hence, walking by faith. Rather than worrying about finances, or health, or family, or pets, or whatever, I walk with my eyes set on the Lord.  In doing so, I stop worrying about the things I cannot change anyway, and instead I do the things He leads me to do (remember, Christ lives in me).  In doing so, I am free of worry, and I find that I am doing what I can about each situation without worrying… but now it’s under His guidance. Why would I be willing to do something that’s so contrary to my natural tendencies?  Because this One who asks it of me loves me.  But this love isn’t the love of lip-service.  It is a love that was expressed through His own sacrifice in my place.  This one took on the burden of my sin, and in doing so received the full wrath of the Father in my place.  And so, it is reasonable to live my life in the flesh by faith in Jesus. Now I seek to see everything that comes into my life through the lens of Jesus’ presence and guidance.  I put what I read under His control to judge and accept or reject.  The movies I expose myself to are under His review.  The words I say I try to say based on my faith, my trust, my reliance on Jesus who has already paid for my sin. Am I doing this perfectly?  Nope!  But I am seeking to be transformed by the life of Jesus who is literally resident within me.  How about you?

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ga 2:20.

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