WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL 5/23
I AM CRUCIFIED
I am crucified. Let me say it again. I am crucified. Think I’ve gone over the edge? Did that long ago. In fact, I did it and bought the t-shirt. I’m not talking about going over the edge, or off the deep end. I’m being perfectly serious. It’s true. I kid you not. I really am crucified.
And if you think I’ve lost my marbles, think again. I’m totally sane. So let me say it again. I am crucified. And, in fact, I am not crucified alone. I am crucified with Christ. Jesus Christ, to be perfectly precise. And if you have no clue what I’m talking about, don’t worry. Neither did I. Let’s just say I didn’t understand what it meant to be crucified with Christ until I actually was. And, now I am.
In case you don’t believe me, I can prove my point. The Bible says I am crucified with Christ. But if you’re anything like me, the Bible can be a bit intimidating sometimes and not always make a lot of sense for those of us who take a bit longer understanding things – especially challenging things like how in heaven’s name I could possibly be crucified – let alone crucified with Christ.
So let me spell it out in plain English. First, let me give you the scripture. Then, I will let you know how it applies to me. And then, I pray, you will understand how it can apply to you also.
“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 NASB
And, just to be totally clear, let me add another scripture from the Bible:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” ” Matthew 16:24 NASB
Okay, ready for some plain English? Good. Me too. When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I became saved by confessing with my mouth and believing in my heart that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead. (Romans 10:9) But only some years later did I understand there is a difference in believing in Jesus Christ and following Him.
Belief is belief. Faith is faith. It’s great, but it is NOT enough. Jesus calls us to FOLLOW HIM, not to just BELIEVE IN HIM. And He explains in the scripture above that I will not be able to follow Jesus and hold onto my old life at the same time. My old life has to DIE. In other words, my old way of living has to go. In order to follow Jesus, I will have to put away my old way of living and learn how to live HIS way as He instructs in the Bible.
I can honestly tell you that for the beginning years of my belief in Jesus, I had no clue about following Him. I simply believed. Then, when I learned that I was being called to follow Jesus, I decided to take EVERYTHING from the past along with me. Guess what? It didn’t work. The old life had to go. And, sure enough, as I learned to follow Jesus, as I studied and applied the Bible to my life, I began to release everything I had held onto for dear life.
Do you know what happened? I was crucified. And, not only WAS I crucified. But I still AM crucified. Paul in the New Testament of the Bible talks about dying “daily”, and that is how I live my life today. Every day, more of the old me dies off as I continue to follow Jesus. Do you know what happens then? I see more and more of Jesus living in me.
Does it sound painful? Guess what? It is! Do you think my flesh likes to die? Of course not. Do you think it’s fun to let go of everything I thought I so desperately needed? Actually, it can be excruciating. But something phenomenal happens in the process.
First, I am crucified WITH Christ. I do not go through this alone. He is with me. Second, I find that I am MORE ALIVE than I have ever been. Why? Because CHRIST LIVES IN ME. That’s exactly what the scripture above says. So while the death of my flesh can be indescribably painful, I end up with the indescribably awesome blessing of knowing that Jesus Christ is now living in and through me.
If I could describe to you the love, the joy, the peace, the hope, the faith, and so much more that I experience on a daily basis as Jesus lives inside and through me, I would. But I cannot. It’s simply that incredible.
Sometimes I can barely recognize myself. The old, fearful, angry, raging, miserable, depressed, lonely, addicted, self-mutilating, suicidal, despairing, hopeless, rejected, abandoned, negative, messed-up, lost, abused, unloving, up-and-down, unforgiving, resentful, bitter, vengeful, jealous, ETC., broken woman has pretty much DIED.
I look in the mirror, and increasingly I see a loving, forgiving, blessed, hopeful, faithful, loyal, giving, compassionate, passionate, creative, generous, committed, dedicated, content, satisfied, sensitive, accountable, responsible, honest, ETC. woman of God. Christ is ALIVE in me, and He is increasingly ALIVE in me as the old me is increasingly DEAD. Now that’s CRUCIFIXION.
So if you think I have gone over the edge for telling you that I am crucified, you now know that I have not. I am merely, and gratefully, living the life the Lord has promised me by becoming a follower of Jesus.
Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you still hanging onto your old life, or are you crucified with Christ so HE can live in and through you? Are you dying daily? If not, are you ready to believe? Are you ready to follow? And are you ready to die that He might live in and through you?
31“I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” – 1 Cor. 15:31 NASB
Dear Father, please help us to die to ourselves and to live for you! AMEN
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