Jesus Living through Us

“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.” (Galatians 2:20)

The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement in this text that caught my attention when reading. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” A statement that makes me fully aware that I am not and never will be capable to live a perfect righteous life in this world. I should be more upset about that than I am because as I read the old Church hymn written by Thomas Obadiah I realize that as much as I try I fall way short of the measure of God’s perfect truth. The title of the hymn is “Living For Jesus A Life That Is True.” It is what it is and to me it is a love song dedicated to our Lord and Savior who first loved us. Listen to these beautiful lyrics. Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do; Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me. O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, For Thou, in Thy redemption, Didst give Thyself for me; I own no other Master, My heart shall be Thy throne, My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.”

Perhaps I have not surrendered my life as much as I have stated I have. Maybe there are certain areas of darkness that still hold some attraction to me that I have not given over to the Lord. I am sure that I should examine myself more truthfully. Oh, if only to be as committed as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, to be as committed as Jesus to the will of the heavenly Father, then I would be worthy of my calling. When looking at the saints I admire and learn from the most, and see the wretch that I really am, I realize that strive as we must we all fall short of His glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

As I look out at many of the Churches of the day I see that we not only fall short of His glory but we fall way short of the commitment to reach His glory. The Apostle John wrote the words of Jesus in his vision on Patmos, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) Many appear to live by their profession of faith in Jesus but few live in their profession. This is true not only of the laity but also Pastoral leadership. I think the problem for me is that I have accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior and then incorporated Him into my life. This is a backwards attitude. He accepts us and then incorporates us into His life through us. “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)

As we look at the words that Paul wrote let us examine our own lives to see if we are as committed to our faith as Paul was. The first thing Paul says to the Galatians in this verse is that “I have been crucified with Christ.” Jesus gave His life on the cross and died for our sins. We share in His crucifixion when we accept Him as our Lord, therefore we have died with Him just as we will be raised with Him. He purchased our life by His blood and we now belong to Him. This is not surrender, as all of creation belongs to Him, but He redeemed us that we may live eternally with Him. If we cannot make that commitment to die with Him, then we cannot expect to live with Him. “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33)

On the road to Damascus Paul when converted by the Words of Jesus Christ and died to self and began to live for Jesus. Paul made reference to this experience in his letter to the Romans. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:5-7)

It is not baptism ceremony that saves us as it is but a symbol of the change in our heart. It is a symbol that we have died to sin through our crucifixion with Christ. If the old self has been crucified with Jesus and we are now living in the new self which will through Him be raised to His glory, then how can we continue to live in the ways of sin? Could it be that we have not truly died to the old self, are we not truly committed? “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

We must come to realize that as a follower of Jesus it is no longer we who live but Jesus who lives through us. Allowing Jesus to live through us is a discipline that we must practice. It is a discipline that we must allow Him to perform in us. Whatever vocation we practice in this world we are disciplined to perform. No one was born knowing what to do or how to do it. When we accept Jesus into our life we must be disciplined to walk in the way that He has chosen for us. How else can we accomplish His good work? “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6) His instruction is proof of His love for us. Discipline is not easy and it is work, it takes commitment. Just the same as any school of training that we undertake. Paul lived a fascinating life for Jesus because he was totally committed to the will of Christ.

Our commitment is not just this part or that of our life but a total commitment of our life to Jesus. We can’t say that on Sunday we are going to be good Christians and then live our own lives the rest of the week. We can’t walk backwards six days and expect to catch up with an hour on Sunday. We are still trapped in the flesh but we must let its fleshy desires die on the cross and live guided by His Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:16-17)

Paul’s life is a good example for us to follow but because of his total commitment to Jesus Paul’s life was fashioned after the Lords. If we want to fully follow Jesus, then the life of Paul is a good example of how to do it. “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)

When we commit our life to Jesus allowing Him to live through us He in turn justifies us before the Father. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) God no longer sees us as we are but sees us through the righteousness of His Son Jesus’ righteousness. God sees us not as we are but as what we will be. A life committed to Jesus does not come by accident. It is a life that is purposed in our heart to live. Though our flesh has been crucified on the cross with Jesus we still must live in this flesh and we do so by faith. Our adversary will try to destroy our faith in Jesus so we must strengthen our purpose each day to remain in the faith and have no doubt in the truth of His Word. “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12)

Pray and study the Word of God, believe, trust and have faith in His Word for He is the faithful and true One. Persevere in your faith and you will be amazed by the mountains that will move. Be true to your God and allow Him to live through you and witness the power of a righteous life for His glory. There will be love in your heart, diligence in your soul, and peace in your spirit. “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Pleasant Manor, May 21, 2016

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