I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me
Christian, can I encourage you – memorise this verse!
This is a verse I learned many years ago and it has been a source of strength and guidance in my life for many years. Why is that? Because it reveals the essence of the Christian life – a new life with Christ.
To follow Jesus is to totally re-orient your life. Your desires, your focus, your purpose, your values, your minute by minute decisions – it all changes when we turf out the old and embrace the new.
When we follow Jesus the old “me” is gone. The new “me” – that is Christ in me – is now in charge.
This is very different to how we sometimes have Christianity portrayed.
Sometimes we hear of making Jesus your best friend.
Or “just pray this prayer of salvation”.
Or inviting Jesus into your heart.
None of these terms is wrong or bad. But neither do they convey the very radical, life re-orienting, eternity shifting event that it is to be a disciple of Jesus. It cost you everything, but you gain even more!
So how do we actually live this life? The way we live in this new, bold, Jesus oriented life is by faith.
I am still human. I am still constrained outwardly by my “flesh” even though my Spirit is now alive, submitted and obedient to Christ. How do I get my flesh to follow the Spirit? It takes faith.
Faith rejects comfort, risk-averse reasoning, relying on past experience, head knowledge or feelings alone. Faith says, the Spirit leads, I follow. I hear and I obey. That is the way of faith.
You say, but that’s tough. That goes against everything I know. Sure, it can be costly and difficult, but then I remind myself “Bruce, the old you has been crucified, remember?”. The old is gone. The new has come.
And even then, at times we get tired. The Christian life, swimming against the tide of the world around us, can be tough. What happens when you feel like throwing it in? Well, that is when we read and recall that all of this is only possible because “the Son of God loved me and gave Him self for me”.
When that lodges in your spirit, nothing else matters.