Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.Galatians 5:24 (NLT)
“Ya dead!” This was a phrase that one of my seminary professors, in a Caribbean accent, used to say as he was teaching us the components of discipleship. It was always exclaimed in answer to a question that he posed to the class. For example, he might ask us “Do you desire to tell lies. No! Because ya dead!” He would usually rattle off several sins that people struggle with. But, he would always answer each question the same way. It was funny, at first. But, the weight of this simple statement slowly began to sink in. All the questions that he flung at us pointed to one, basic question: Can a dead man, or woman, sin? The answer is a definitive no. They’re dead. They can’t do anything but await the resurrection from Jesus Christ.
This is where this verse from the Apostle Paul comes in. When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we accept His death on the cross in our place. But, there’s more to it than that. We die with Christ on the cross. No, not literally. But, our sinful selves, our desires, our selfishness, our ego, our ignorance, our life before we had Christ is put to death. Living is no long about us. We’re dead. We can’t do anything. Instead, we assume our new life in Christ.
When we accept Jesus into our lives, we inherit His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. No longer do we wander around aimlessly, trying to do good, or enjoying doing bad. The Holy Spirit prompts us always to do what is right. If we’ve truly laid down our life for Christ, then we are called to listen for, and follow, the Spirit’s directions. Our desires, our wants, our opinions, are nailed to the cross, after all. They no longer matter. We’re dead. Christ is alive!
When we have selfish motives, we must remind ourselves that they are nailed to the cross. When we lust after things and people, we must look to the cross to see that sin nailed to the cross. When we desire the spotlight, fame, fortune, we must look at the nails that held the Light of the World. Only He deserves the spotlight. When we disrespect others, gossip, or spread rumors, we must repent and see the blood stains on the cross that hold our old self there. In short, no longer should anything be about what we want. It’s all about what Jesus wants.