For to me to live is Christ…
We tend to think that life is about me and perhaps Jesus can help us a little to get by. He can help with circumstances, or give me patience in a difficult moment, but then it is all back on “my” shoulders as I try to trudge along through life.
The Bible has a very different perspective, that life is about Christ, that it is centered in Him. He becomes the life of the believer and the life around the believer. He leads, He enables, He guides, He indwells, He encourages, He lifts up, He empowers. We are still independent creatures, with our own personalities and capacities for thought, feelings, and actions, but Christ is to indwell and to be so present in our lives that nothing is excluded from Him. He makes us new creations through the gospel, so then we should expect new realities with this new work of Christ.
The path of victory is the path where we can truly say, “Not I, but Christ.” In this sense our lives are lived for Christ, in Christ, and by Christ. We die to self – to self-ambition, to self-rule, to self-centeredness, to all that “self” apart from Christ is – and live to Christ. The “old man” must die so that the “new man” in Christ can live.
Watchman Nee wrote:
God’s way of deliverance is altogether different from man’s way. Man’s way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God’s way is to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking that if only they were stronger all would be well. The idea that, because failure to lead a holy life is due to our impotence, something more is therefore demanded of us, leads naturally to this false conception of the way of deliverance. If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory over sin we must have more power.
“‘If only I were stronger,’ we say, ‘I could overcome my violent outbursts of temper,’ and so we plead with the Lord to strengthen us that we may exercise more self-control. But this is altogether wrong; this is not Christianity. God’s means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. This is surely a peculiar way of victory, you say; but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.”
This is not just Evangelical tricks with words. It is the biblical message and therefore one that we can and must accept into our hearts. Today die to sin and self, die to self-ambition and to the self-focused life. By the Holy Spirit live in Christ.
Christ did not “help” you become saved – He saved you. Christ does not help you live for Him – He becomes your life! In our weakness is God’s strength made perfect.
Lord, do in us and through us all that You desire. May we come to the end of ourselves that we may live victoriously in You. Amen.