“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Some people like to call it their “B.C.” or “Before Christ” years, referring to the period of their life before coming to faith and salvation in Jesus. I remember mine, and it wasn’t pretty.
Every time I think about my B.C. life, the song “When I Think About the Lord” by Rita Springer comes to mind…
When I think about the Lord
How He saved, how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up
Turned me around
How He set my feet
On solid ground
It makes me want to shout-
Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!
Oh how the Lord picked me up and turned me around when I needed it the most! Circumstances in my life led me to recognize how utterly sinful I am, and for the first time at the age of 23, I grasped the extent of my depravity.
God is so good that He allowed the consequences of my sin to drive me to Him. I finally understood that I wasn’t impervious, and I was forced to look at the prideful and selfish man in the mirror. I realized that I need God, that I am so hopeless and lost without Him, and that I was going down the wide road of destruction while leaving casualties along the way.
Now it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Through faith I’ve surrendered my life to the Son of God, who has made me a brand new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). My reflection in the mirror today is of a completely different person than I was B.C.
It doesn’t mean that I’m perfect… far from it. It doesn’t mean that I no longer sin. It doesn’t mean that I’m immune from making mistakes. It doesn’t mean that I no longer struggle with temptation or selfishness or pride, or that this world doesn’t get to me from time to time. All of this still happens, and I know that it will be a continual battle until Christ returns.
But what it does mean is that I’ve been set FREE! What it does mean, is that I have God on my side! What it does mean, is that God has brought me across that line from darkness into His light!
I am no longer crushed and bound by my sin and shame. The weight of me trying to be perfect or trying to succeed on my own or trying to live up to a standard of unhealthy and ungodly expectations has been lifted. I now have hope not in myself or in others or in this world, but squarely set on God’s promises. I have peace that I had never experienced in my 23 B.C. years. I have eternal purpose that my eyes had been closed to for so long. I have this burning, inner-desire to love God, love others, and to live righteously knowing that I’m not condemned when I fail. And I have true, genuine joy in my life, DESPITE the calamity and catastrophes that still come my way. And it is NOTHING of my own doing, but simply because of Christ who lives in me! And to that I shout, “Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!”
It may sound intimidating to be “crucified with Christ” and to “take up your cross daily” to follow Jesus. But once I truly understood what the cross meant, I understood that He freely gave up Himself to save me from myself, in order to have a relationship with Him. I was given a new life, and I found the freedom, privilege, and power that can only be accessed through Christ’s sacrifice on that old rugged cross. And so, I will gladly pick it up daily although it’s not easy!
In what or in whom are you putting your faith in today? Is your hope built on a world that’s come to a screeching halt because of COVID-19? Is it built on a job or career that you may have one day and lose the next? Is it built on your own health and strength that is progressively in decline? Is it built on political structures and powers that are as fallible and transitory as you? Is it built on people in your life who have or will ultimately let you down?
Instead, I implore you to put your faith in Jesus who is eternal and omnipotent (all powerful). Be crucified with Christ, rise up, and leave your B.C. life behind!