“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells an expert in the law that the first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) My understanding is that as followers of Jesus and as people whom God has created this is what God desires most from us, and we can’t completely love Him without crucifying the things that keep us from oneness with Him.
I haven’t always understood the Galatians verse above nor did I want to “crucify” myself. What does that even mean exactly? To crucify means to subdue or even better to conquer and lay down lusts, passions, etc. In the last day or so, I have come to understand the things in our lives that need to be crucified as anything that disrupts our relationship with the Lord and keeps us from oneness with Him. Later in Galatians, Paul refers to these things as things of the flesh (Galatians 5:17).
“…I live by faith in the Son of God…” I think this part is crucial. If we don’t really believe God is who He says He is, why would we want to lay down any part of ourself, such as selfishness, pride, vanity, unhealthy relationships, control and the list goes on? If we truly love Him with our heart, soul and mind and believe Him, shouldn’t we want to lay down anything that keeps us from being one with Him? Our very good God is so jealous for our attention and our hearts. Over the years, He has shown me how much He loves His people. He wants our full attention. Priscilla Shirer says, “If you’re struggling to move forward in obedience to God, you do not need bigger faith. You just need to realize how big your God is. The more faithful and strong you believe Him to be, the more willing you will be to depend on Him. Your level of faith will always be tied to your perception of God.” (Armor of God, 140). I love that! Our level of faith will always be tied to our perception of who we know Him to be. If we have big faith in God and what His Son did on the cross, our only response is to give Him our whole self as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. (Rom 12:1)
Let’s be people who draw near to God so that He can reveal in us the things that we need to lay aside or put down. Let’s “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14 (paraphrase) But… let’s be honest, “crucifying” the things of the flesh is hard and it looks different for everyone. We are all created uniquely. The things that distract me from wholeheartedly pursing the Lord are completely different from the things that distract my husband or my friends or my family members. Thank goodness we don’t have to do this alone in our own human strength. We would probably quit before we even got started or get too tired and give up. I know I would. He gives us grace, strength and desire to grow closer to Him and remove the things that aren’t pleasing.
Do you feel like you’ve lost your faith in God? Or maybe you’ve never known him. I encourage you to read through the Psalms especially 8, 23, 29, 46, 63, and 103. Those are my favorite.
What’s coming in between your relationship with the Lord that needs to be crucified? I am asking myself this question too. Let’s pursue him with reckless abandonment.
People, let’s have some great faith and passion for the things of God. Let’s love Him, honor Him and crucify the things that are distracting our attention, so that the world can see who our great and awesome God is!
Side note: If I’ve said something you don’t agree with or don’t understand, please email me. Maybe you want to know Jesus for the first time. I would love to talk about that too. There’s nothing I love more than to talk about Jesus even if we have differing opinions. Or we can go to coffee and talk Jesus, that’s even better.