“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 ESV
Note: This is the second post in a series seeking to apply the truths of the above verse to practical Christian living. Please understand that this is not intended to be formulaic. We encounter many different scenarios in which we must incorporate biblical principles with great discernment. Following a rigid formula does not guarantee success. Hopefully, the general biblical truths applied below will be a helpful encouragement to living a Christ-centered life.
Scripture: Galatians 2:20 tells Christians four important truths. 1) I am a new person in Christ. My old self was crucified with Him when I was united to Him by faith. 2) Christ now lives in me. I have the power and presence of God in my life. 3) I live my life now by faith in Christ. I keep trusting in His past work and future promises and keep applying His Word to my life. 4) Christ loved me and died for me. What motivates me to live for Jesus is the great love and grace He showed me.
Scenario: A Christian is overwhelmed by troubles, busy schedules, family matters, and work pressures. It feels like life is too much to handle, but this believer knows that quitting is not an option. How can the truth of Gal. 2:20 help a Christian persevere in life’s responsibilities?
1) I am a new person in Christ. If I am this Christian, I must remember again the change that Christ has brought in my life. My old self has been crucified with Christ. This means that the power of old, sinful responses to life’s circumstances has been broken. Sinful responses to difficult situations include: 1) escape – running away from troubles or just simply giving up; 2) neglect – ignoring some problems or people because involvement takes too much effort; or 3) releasing pressure – turning to addictions or blowing off steam at the expense of others. A new person in Christ does not have to respond in any of these ways.
2) Christ now lives in me. Since the old master (self) is gone, a new Master now controls me. Christ’s presence in my life provides practical power for practical problems. His Spirit is producing fruit in my life like peace, patience, and faithfulness. Therefore, Christ gives me a peace which prevails under pressures, a patience which endures troubles, and a faithfulness which remains trustworthy in life’s responsibilities. God is faithful to carry me through any temptation and provide proper escape so that I can endure (1 Cor. 10:13).
3) I live by faith in Christ. As a new person who knows Christ is living in me, I can walk by faith through life’s troubles and pressures. I trust in God’s purposes for me and His promises to me. I pray for His will to be done, and I believe that He is working all things for my good. I hold firm to His promise to never leave me nor forsake me, and I depend upon His grace which is always sufficient for any situation.
4) Christ loved me and died for me. Ultimately, the greatest way to persevere in life’s responsibilities is to focus on what Jesus did for me in the gospel. His loving death for me paid for my sins, won my acceptance with God, and guaranteed my final deliverance from all the difficulties of this life. I can look to Jesus and see the way to persevere with joy to the very end: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV).
Don’t give up. Don’t give in to doubt or despair. Jesus provides the power to endure in life’s responsibilities and the promise to bring you through them and all the way home. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10 ESV).