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]
the romans used crucifixion as a capital form of punishment because it was slow and excruciating. the subject was sure to die, heeding a warning to any potential offenders watching.
we all know that death is permanent in the mortal sense. that is what makes Jesus’ resurrection so astonishing. despite that example, when we mortals put something to death, it doesn’t come back.
paul has been crucified with Christ. he understands that gaining the whole world means losing his soul (matthew 16:26). he does not live by his fleshly ways as his primary motivation anymore. he put them to death, crucifying himself with Christ. when he crucifies himself, he expects that his flesh will never reign over him again. he desires Christ to live in him, trusting the Holy Spirit to pour out from him.
i tend to read this victorious verse with a downtrodden attitude. “how can i ever get to paul’s point of living crucified?” i mutter to myself.
there are two things wrong with that thinking:
the focus is on me and paul. my mind immediately draws to creation, not the creator.
i’m missing the key word: faith.
paul lives by faith in Christ. Christ willingly allowed himself to be painfully crucified, and resurrected three days later to defeat death so we can dwell with God in eternity. there was a debt we could not pay, and Jesus chose to be obedient in lovingly paying for it.
consider the heart of the savior in which we put our faith:
“when he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – matthew 9:36
living in faith rather than sin means trusting that this compassionate shepherd will guide you. he gives you the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. he provides the strength to walk in step with the Spirit when worldly attitudes seem tempting. he welcomes your repentance when you give into temptation. he gives you eternal peace as you wrestle with persecution. all you have to do is ask.
ask for more of him.
ask him to change your desires.
ask him to help you trust his character.
ask him for a heightened understanding of dependency upon him.
be persistent. do not give up.
then you can say “no” to the things that you used to desire, because you desire what is of God, not of your flesh. putting them to death may be excruciating, but remember- God is not only with you, but he is in you… strengthening you to rely on him to live a crucified life.
rest in these words Jesus shares with his disciples:
“…because i live, you will also live. in that day you will know that i am in my father, and you in me, and i in you. whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. and he who loves me will be loved by my father, and i will love him and manifest myself to him.” – john 14:19-21
let us live by Jesus’ commandments to carry our cross, crucifying our flesh- trusting in faith that he will guide us through the Spirit. father, hear our prayer for you to change our hearts and desires!
take time to sit at God’s feet and ask!