In response to yesterday's blog a friend reminded me of Galatians 2:20, "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." The theme of "old and new self" is touched on several times in Paul's writings and it's so crucial to our understanding of the Christian life. The old ways have been put behind. The new ways have been adopted. There is a difference between who we used to be and who we are...and the difference is Christ! Or at least that's supposed to be the difference.
Living the Christian life is flat out difficult. We are commanded to follow Jesus but we are not forced to. Don't get me wrong, Jesus has the power to make usobey. But force breeds resentment, animosity, and bitterness. Instead, the Spirit of Christ calls me to obedience, repentance and sanctification...but not against my will or habits.
For Jesus to increase I have to decrease...and that's not accidental. I have to willing let go of my old ways and strive to adopt the ways of Christ. I have to want to embrace the changes that Christ desires in me. I have to accept his kind rebukes , his subtle (and blatant!) suggestions, and allow him to transform me into his likeness. And it's not a suggestion! "He MUST become greater and greater, and I MUST become less and less." (John 3:30)
The good news for us in this gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, life-changing process is that we don't go about it alone. The Christ who "lives in us" is present to supply us with the power to make the changes He calls us to.
Read the Bible in One Year Plan: Genesis 12-15