My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
I had a seminary professor who used to say something that was simple in its delivery, but had a profound impact on me and my ministry. When talking about how to live a Christian life, he would say, “It’s not about trying. It’s about dying.” As those words rang in my ears, I considered their impact. What if living a proper Christian life wasn’t about me making sure I followed the commandments of God perfectly? Now, here me clearly, I do believe in the commandments of God as found in the Scriptures, and, yes, we are called to follow them. But, I put this question to you: How do we follow them?
Many people growing up have developed an unbiblical foundation of how to follow God. This foundation goes something like this: It is up to you to perfectly obey God. But, this verse, and the professor’s comment, destroy that perception. How can you obey if you’re dead?
When we try to keep the commandments of God in our own power, we will fail. Why? Because we are all sinful people, unable to live out a life of perfect obedience. Therefore, it is not our power that allows us to follow God. Obedience to a perfect law requires perfect power. Perfect power must come from a perfect being. There is only one of those in the universe. His name is Jesus. It is in His power that we must live. And, the only way to do that is for us to die.
I’m not talking about a literal death. What I mean is that we must die to ourselves. We must surrender our entire life to Jesus, permitting Him to rule in it. It’s not about trying in our own strength. It’s about dying to self and living in Christ. We lay down our lives and allow Him to live for us.
Okay, so in a practical sense, what does this look like? Paul gives us that too. The last part of the verse captures this concept when he states, “So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God.” Dying to self means that we trust Jesus in everything. All we must do is follow His directions. Let Him lead, wherever that may be. Let Him transform us in His ways. Surrender absolute control over life to Him. Let Christ reign.
One thought on “Dead Man Walking”
This is powerful! I never thought of dying to self, with Christ living in me, “being dead” as the answer to the concept of gaining personal perfection. I always somehow knew we couldn’t gain perfection – but your explanation is the Perfect answer to that dilemma. Thank you for your clarifying and encouraging insights.