The first time any of us imagines turning over all of his or her life to Jesus--giving Jesus permission to run things one-hundred percent--most of us imagine that we'll be forced to live dull, churchy, boring lives. Why can't I run my own life, or at least those areas of my life where I have the most experience? The answer is that we were not created to live in independence from God! It is a big lie (in fact, it's THE lie of the garden) that we can be our own gods, run our own lives, determine our own future, and pretty much do as we please.
The Christian life is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work. I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires, which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself; my own will shall become yours." (C. S. Lewis)
We tend to underestimate the nature of God's great love for us. "God is Love" --He created us for relationships of love. He understands us. His deep desire is to fulfill us. The world stifles individuality and uniqueness, Jesus liberates us so that we become whole and well-rounded--realizing in the end all that was originally created in us. God's nature is to pour himself out for others. He does not live "for Himself" as we are prone to do. The fulfillment for all eternity for the Persons of the Godhead is to be always pouring out love, and responding to love. Love requires at least two persons.
Both must give their consent or there can be no relationship, and real love involves both initiating and responding. (See A Personal God). Then there all those paradoxes Jesus taught us about losing one's life in order to find it, about taking up one's cross daily, and the necessity of a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying in order to live. These ominous-sounding teachings are all part of the joyful good news of the Exchanged Life.
Norman Grubb in The Key to Everything said that we could think of Jesus being "the real new you" inside. As we allow Jesus to live in and through us we become more "ourselves"-- our individuality is neither stifled nor replaced; it is unfolded like a blossom. We are not unlike a butterfly, emerging from a cocoon when we become new creations in Christ yielded to our maker.
But a real personal relationship with God involves a yielding of our wills to an infinitely superior Being. He is running the universe; we aren’t. To become citizens of heaven and live in sync with God is not a matter of a little cleansing with "grandma's lye soap" --plus some sorrows and regrets for our bad choices in life--which we now feel remorse about. Nothing we have done in the past or even the changed life we are now living counts one hoot with God. The only lasting works that will survive are the works we give Jesus permission to do through us. He even gives back our wasted years if we allow it!
This brings us back to the basics. We must die and allow Jesus to live through us. In times past this protocol has been called “the exchanged life” or “entering into the Sabbath Rest." Our “reasonable service” is described in Romans 12:1,2:
“I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Because Jesus had died in our place, there is really not much for us to do, but to “Trust and Obey.” Our trespasses and our sins (past, present, future) were all paid for us by Jesus, and we have a clean slate in the record books of heaven effective immediately when we give permission to Jesus to be our Lord. Because God is love, He will use every available Christian to pour out His love into our broken world, but all our choices in life matter!
All this is packaged for us in Galatians 2:20. May I suggest you analyze and pray through this one verse, one phrase at a time. Note the subtle change implied in the five changing uses of the personal pronoun "I"-- if you allow God to crucify that old ego and be identified with Jesus in His Cross. No wonder that Norman Grubb called this verse “The Liberating Secret.”
Christ in You / You in Christ
The phrase “Christ in you” is found in Romans 8 and also in Colossians 1.
The term “Christ in you” complements the teaching that we Christians are “in Christ.” (The latter phrase occurs numerous times in the New Testament).
|Wife of Jehovah / Bride of Christ||The Ultimate Wedding||The Marriage Supper of the Lamb|
|Jewish Wedding Traditions||Made in the Image of God||The Meaning of Baptism|
|Love and Relationships: Song of Solomon||Keys to the Song of Solomon|
|Born and Adopted||A Glorious Church||The Left Hand of God|
|The Story of the Great Harlot in the Bible||King Ego||Intimacy with Jesus|
|The Ruin of Creation||Biblical Illiteracy||It Takes Three to Tango|
|The Exchanged Life||Intimacy with God||Circumcision|
|Yin, Yang, the Tao and Wholeness||How Saved are You?||The Exchanged Life|
|Logos and Sophia||The Excluded Ones||Jesus Plain and Simple|
|On Everlasting Destruction||Yahweh-Rophe: God our Healer||Jesus the Breaker|
The Ego Problem
On Human Pride
Your God is Way too Small
The Last One Percent
We are all Accountable
Existential Christians | Cultural Christians | The Rebellious Ones | Closeted Christians | Compromised Christians | Carnal Christians