“A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.”
~ Andrew Murray
All that we are in Christ, all the rights and privileges that we have in Christ are behind our own death. Not the one-time symbolic death at our baptism but a daily death to our old man.
You want “success”, you want “victory”, you want to be “above and not beneath”, you want “prosperity”, you want to be “the head and not the tail”?
As if these were things to obtain by our faith or our hard bible study, good disciplined behavior, our faith confessions and strong efforts.
We are incapable of the following:
- Loving like God loved by reading about Jesus Christ and doing likewise.
- Teaching others how to love as if it were a mental activity or a set of behaviors.
- Doing ‘what Jesus would do’ (WWJD) by knowing what he would do and acting accordingly.
- ‘Getting our act together’ and obey the varied commands of God by our discipline.
- Stopping sinning and live holy by our will power.
As if these these good Christian behaviors were things that we acquire, things we attain to in our own God-likeness, adding his behavior to our life.
No, we are hopeless in self, even the most wonderful ones among us, the only thing we attain to is death, he increases, we decrease, not our will, (as good as it may be) but his will is done.
Scripture says “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27), …it does NOT say “you acting like Christ out of your discipline…the hope of glory.” Huge difference.
The truth is that Jesus Christ himself is peace, he is love, he is joy. We know what to do in every situation as he dwells and lives within, our “act is together” forever as he lives through us because his ‘act’ is together.
The key to our life in Christ and growing in him is death to us, just like Jesus died to himself. Both in will and on the cross, “not by my will but yours be done” (Matt 26:39). Jesus died so that the Father’s love could be shown, displayed and revealed to the world.
Dying is not an act of the will, it is a surrender, a permanent and painful surrender. We ‘die’, we don’t get our way, we lose out, we don’t angrily defend ourselves when attacked, we don’t get vengeance, we repent, we abandon our self-will, our self-strength, our self-life, our self-ambition.
We let go of our good names, our good reputation which promotes us, building our resume of ministry, in all its forms. As we do this, as we die, then … if Christ is within us, he can live through us, he is on display, we hear him easily, we see what he is doing around us easily we are spiritual and not carnal. Death to me puts him on display, if he is living within me…this is how Christians live now, by his life. As we figuratively pass away and decrease he can be there shining within.
Our strong self-life is like the basket covering the light that shines within.. (see Matt 5:15-16)
He is being hidden…as we are strong in our self, as we get our way, as we manipulate life situations for our benefit, as we defend our good names, as we seek to control appearances we are on display. As we set out to ‘make a good showing in the flesh’ (Gal 6:12).
Living the Christian life, for the person who will die to self becomes easy and light like Jesus said. “my yoke is easy, my burden is light” in Matt 11:30. The worst murdering drug addict and the noblest brilliant Ivy-league king are equal in maturity and living for God if they can die and let Jesus live within. The murderous addict’s self-life is sin, murder, living for pleasure. The king’s self-life is his superior brilliance and pride of life and appearances. But if both die to the old man, then Christ conquers them both and now can be on display within them.
We know internally when we are dying to self, we know because it hurts, death always costs something, death is painful, it is uncomfortable.
To some accustomed to winning, to controlling things and others, to being on top of life, to the very talented, to the very gifted and intelligent, to the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-23) death is expensive, it comes with loss. To others accustomed to losing, to not getting our way, life and perhaps God himself has prepared them. Allowing death is not so foreign, and it may be easier to accept.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, “It is not I who lives, but Christ lives in me.”
If you want to dive deeper into this reach out to me and I can recommend a course or some great books.
Please comment below!