“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.” (Galatians 2:20)
We have been talking about how to live in what Christ has done for us – how to access what the completed work of Jesus has made available to us.
Yesterday, we talked about the problem of the old self – and how it is very easy to attempt to live the Christian life by means of the old self. Whenever we are trying to earn God’s favor (by all the good things we do) we are living by the old self. Whenever we are striving to do more, or do better, we are living by the old self. When we are consumed with doing all the right things, or performing all the proper religious practices… we are living by the old self. When we find our selves “failing” to live as we should, or running back to all our old addictions… it is because we are living (in those moments) by the old self.
Thank God, He has a solution to the “old self” problem. He made a way for the old self to die, to be placed in a grave, and left there – so it will not encumber our relationship with Christ. That is what God did for us through the death of Jesus.
Jesus not only died for us… He made a way for us to die to our old selves.
But it is not automatic. We are required to apply God’s provision for us, each day of our lives. This is the role of faith (or, as the Apostle calls it: “trusting in the Son of God”). Faith is God’s gift to us… so that we may receive what He has done for us.
The best way I know to describe Biblical faith is that it is the purposeful application of what God has done (or said) to our lives. We see our condition. We see what God has done about our condition. And we accept what God has done – by living our lives in accord with what God has done (and said).
This is why “the righteous will live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17) We are made righteous because of Jesus’ work. And each day, we live in what He has done for us, by applying His work. This is not just a one-time application – it is a DAILY practice!
This is exactly as Jesus told us: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and let him take up his cross daily, and let him follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) In Jesus words we see: 1) an open invitation (to anyone); 2) a desire to be with Jesus (to commit ourselves to Him); 3) a taking up of our cross (a reference to what ends our old self); and 4) our life’s new singular purpose (following Jesus). And each of these things is meant to be our daily pursuit.
Following Jesus is simple. But it is not easy. He makes everything so simple a child could do it. We make it hard when we try to follow Jesus by our old practices, or by our religious observances, or by trying so hard (in our own abilities) to do all the right Christian things.
In order to truly follow Jesus, we must be rid of our old selves. Just as the Apostle, we must daily live by the fact that we “have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ Who lives in me.”
Jesus knows exactly how to live the life that pleases God – and that is exactly where He is leading those who are daily surrendered to follow Him.
Prayer Focus: God, move my heart, each day, to surrender to You… and follow Jesus with my whole heart.