I've noticed recently that many of my blogs have taken on a harsher, more urgent tone to them. It is like a desperate plea to a people who have forgotten who they are, who seem to have lost their identity. We are a generation of believers with more physical advantages than any other generation before us and yet we are one of the spiritually poorest generations that has existed. We are weak in our faith and in our understanding of God's Word. We have almost completely set aside the Spirit of God and now only do what we can in our own ability. We mouth the Words of a song that we don't really know or identify with any more.
I want to shock you with a little piece of Scripture that will either encourage you or ruin your day, depending on your priorities. I don't want us to play games any more and fill our days with pictures of cute, fluffy cats and bunnies. I want you to understand the bare bones reality of what our relationship with Jesus is. Key element number one:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
You won't believe how many Christians are waking up today with this NOT being their reality. I have been crucified with Christ! Spiritually this is our reality. Christianity is not some mamsie pamsie feel good religion that helps people who are in misery make it through yet another endless day in their sorry excuse of a life. The reality is that when we decide to follow Jesus, we set our life aside. We voluntarily become crucified with him, laying down our life, giving up our future, past and present. We are dead. Paul says it clearly here, "I no longer live".
Do you hear that? Many don't. Many think they can accept Jesus, get all the benefits and then continue doing what they want to do. But we are no longer alive. We no longer live for ourselves. We no longer pursue what we want. We no longer chase after our dreams. There is no 10% for God and 90% for us. There is only 100% Jesus, all the time, everywhere. Our reality becomes, "I no longer love, but Christ lives in me". That means that it is his will we respond to, his desires, his character, his love and compassion. Our reality is totally shifted so that what is important to Jesus is important to us. We acknowledge that we are only alive because of Jesus in us. Jesus is not someone we add to our collection of stuff; Jesus replaces even us. Jesus is not something we do; Jesus is what we are.
It doesn't take a scientific study to know that this is not the reality for the great majority of Christians. In fact, most of us don't even know how it works. We just know that our parents went to church so that we should go to church too. The new generation of Christians, those that have joined the big churches simply like the singing, the programs and they find the pastor entertaining and wise. But where is the radical Christianity? Where is the red hot, on fire for the Lord, let's go out and save the world, brand of Christians? If we have died and Jesus now lives in us, shouldn't we be out doing what he has told us to do?
We have set aside our rights to make our own decisions and to live according to what we want. We have given up the right to second guess God. Our new reality is that we trust everything that Jesus says as if it is life itself, because it is. We place our entire faith in him. Key element number two:
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
It is his love that compels us. It is his great act of love on the cross that compelled us to lay down our life in the first place. His love drew us to the cross where we were crucified with him. It is his love that called us back to life where he became the source of life in us. Imagine if you would that our heart was replaced by Jesus and it is now him who sustains our breath.
If we are not living every day for Jesus, we are wasting our days. Nothing we do outside of Jesus has any value. Nothing we pursue outside of him will add to our joy or will have any eternal impact. Nothing we do outside of him has any life to it at all since Jesus is the one who sustains our life. We do not live by the rules and wisdom of this world but by faith in Jesus. We live by his promises and his instructions. We are not confined by the limits of this world as we allow Jesus to live through us.
We have to decide today that we are going to stop living such weak lives; lives without the power of God. We have to put on the realty that we gave our life up and everything that went with it. Jesus is not interested in renovating our lives, he wants to do a whole new build. We now have the power and authority to do everything because of he who lives in us. I don't speak in my own authority because I have none, but I do speak in the authority of the Son of God, and everything must obey that authority. I no longer have a right to live such a weak life because I laid down my life and I refuse to pick it up again. In fact, I can't pick it up again because it has a new occupant; it is no longer I who live but Jesus who lives through me. Are you beginning to see what we have been missing? There is a difference and his name is Jesus.