“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live—yet, not I, but Christ (Who) lives in me. And, the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The process is simple—“daily dying to self and coming alive to Christ”—but it takes a lifetime to get there.
“Crucified with Christ.”
This sounds so foreign to us—for we’re unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of crucifixion. Sure, we can read about it in the Bible and research it through commentaries, Bible dictionaries and on-line resources.
But, it’s still not the same as having been there and seen the pain and agony. . .the stigma, shame and suffering. . .that goes with dying on a cross. Yet, in a strange sort of way, we can understand even though our crosses are not wooden ones. . .our nails are not sharp, iron ones. . . and our deaths are not (necessarily, usually) excruciatingly painful, physical ones.
Yes, our crosses are different; but still painful nonetheless: Broken or strained relationships. Being passed over for promotion or losing a job because of Christian convictions.
And, the nails may not be rusty, iron spikes; but they still hurt just the same: Harsh words and malicious deeds by those who oppose us—sometimes by those who said they love us or profess to be on the same “team” (Christian) as us.
That’s why we must remember that we are being “crucified WITH Christ,” never alone. This same One Who “redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13) is also the same One Who receives the blows meted out to us. And, it’s “by HIS stripes—not ours—that we are healed” (Is. 53:5b) and empowered to say “nevertheless I live, yet, not I, but Christ Who lives in me.”
Truly, it is His abiding, Resurrection Presence in us that enables us to go on when the easiest thing to do would be to quit. During those times of testing. . .when our faith’s being defined, refined and transformed into 24-karat status (I Pet. 1:6-7). . .we can say with calm assurance “And the life I now live in the flesh (i.e., my old ‘man,’ nature), I live by the faith of the One Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
HIS faith, not mine. HIS Life, not mine. HIS Power, not mine.
He knows what we were before He saved us (Eph. 2:1-3), but He still “quickens us together WITH Him. . .raises us together WITH Him. . .and has made us to sit together WITH Him in Heavenly places” (vv.4-6). Hallelujah!!
Partners in problems. Partners in pressures. Partners in pain. And, partners in praise.
Jesus and me. Facing the future together. Winning the victory TOGETHER. Glory!!
So, how goes it, Pilgrim? Have you been kicking and screaming on the way to the Cross? Or, have been you been lying quietly on the Potter’s Wheel (Jer. 18:1-6)? Rest quietly in Him today, weary one; He’s promised to handle you with T.L.C. (Mt. 11:28-30).
August 17, 2011