By Byron Day, BCM/D President and Pastor of Emmanuel Church, Laurel, Md.
I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
Most people desire to live a good life. They want to enjoy life and try to do so by endeavoring to live life to its fullest. Some believe material possessions will enable them to get the most out of life. Some believe by doing extreme things this will allow them to experience the best life has to offer. Thus, most people spend their entire lives searching for life. The Apostle Paul, however, reminds Christians that a truly abundant, successful, and joyful life is achieved not by striving but by dying.
Note Paul’s attitude. He says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Paul had made up in his mind that the life that the world pursues is not really life. This is a life apart from God and full of hopelessness. He considered himself dead to that life. In other words, to Paul that type of thinking no longer existed, it died with Christ on Calvary.
Not only did Paul consider his old life as dead, but also he considered new life as allowing Jesus to live in him. Jesus now makes the decisions and sets the course. “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” How totally opposite of the present day philosophy, which tells us to seize control of our lives and chart our own course apart from God. Jesus has plans for us and desires to live in us that we may glorify our heavenly Father.
Paul goes on to point out that his remaining days on earth since his new birth are lived by faith in God rather than faith in himself. He had determined within himself that he would live the rest of his days completely submitted to the will of God.
His motivation for allowing Jesus to reign in his life is found in the last phrase: “…who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul says he lives this way because Jesus sacrificed His own life for him on Calvary. Jesus died that Paul might live and this incomprehensible love stirs him to surrender his life to the Lord.
The completion of the 2010 SBC Annual Meeting has brought change to the Southern Baptist Convention. We have a new SBC president and the GCR Task Force Report has been adopted.
While change is good, we should consider that resurgence will not come simply from changing methods and strategies, but from confronting the people of God with the Savior’s love and challenging them to consider that love and sacrifice. The response to God’s love ought to be a life surrendered completely to the service of the Savior. The motivation for witnessing, giving, and serving is born out of a deep abiding love for Jesus and a life fully surrendered to Him.