“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who gave Himself for me. … And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 2:20; 5:24-25).
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:13-23).
The apostle Paul clearly understood an important truth that the churches in Galatia apparently did not understand. We are to live CRUCIFIED LIVES, not simply CHRISTIANIZED LIVES. And there is a huge difference!
Sadly, more often than not, we struggle with the same problem that the Christians in Galatia suffered. We tend to focus upon, work on the externals, and forget that it is what’s on the inside that really matters.
God is not simply looking for His people to CHANGE THIER WAYS; He’s looking for His people to CRUCIFY THEIR DESIRES AND AMBITIONS. And there is a BIG difference between the two!
Is this not why we have SO MANY SANITIZED PEOPLE and SO FEW SPIRITUAL PEOPLE in our churches today? If you have been a Christian for any length of time, a member of a Bible-believing church for any length of time, you will readily admit that we have a lot of GOOD PEOPLE, but do we have GODLY PEOPLE?
How about you? How about me?
Is this not why we have so few who truly love Christ with all of their hearts and love their brothers and sisters in Christ, their neighbors, and even their enemies as they love themselves? Is this not why we find ourselves criticizing and condemning one another? In fact, is this not why you and I struggle so with BEING what Christ desires for us to BE, in spite of the fact, we might be DOING what we believe Christ wants us to DO?
O Lord, help us not to be “white washed sepulchers” [Matthew 23:24-28].
As one man who gave his life as a martyr noted many years ago:
Anyone who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance he has in the Lord’s work is not others, but himself. He will discover that his outward man (soul) is not in harmony with his inward man (spirit). Both tend to go toward two opposite directions from each other. He will also sense the inability of his outward man to submit to the inner control of his regenerated spirit, received through the new birth. Thus, he is rendered incapable of obeying God’s highest commands. He will quickly detect that his greatest difficulty lies in his outward man, which hinders him from using his spirit.
Many of God’s servants are not able to do even the most elementary work. Ordinarily, they should be enabled by the exercise of their spirit to know God’s Word, to discern the spiritual condition of another, to send forth God’s messages under the anointing, and to receive God’s illumination. Yet due to the distractions of the outward man, their spirit does not seem to function properly. It is basically because their outward man has never been dealt with. For this reason, excitement in revivals, pleading prayers, and zealous activities are but a waste of time. As we shall see, only one kind of basic dealing can enable man to be useful before God—brokenness.
And this is the work of the Cross in our lives!
O Lord, help me to die, and to die daily!