Crucified with Christ – Galatians 2:20

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 NIV

As Christians, how should we live during our brief sojourn here on earth? For many the options seem to be to enjoy it, or to endure it. And while we should have joy in our life in Christ, that joy is not found in the pleasures of this world. And while we should endure in our faithfulness to him, that is much more than just getting by day after day.

This verse really sums up Paul’s life as a believer. He saw himself as crucified on the cross with Christ; he had died and this world no longer held any attraction to him. And now he lived, not for himself, but for Christ. Paul had given himself over completely to the one who had given himself for Paul. Christ had saved him, and Paul now had a life debt, owed to Christ.

Is this way of life unique to Paul, and maybe a few other especially called people? Or should it be true of all believers? I believe this aligns well with Romans 12:1-2 were we are all called to be living sacrifices, not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds. We should all see ourselves as crucified with Christ, and living our lives now by faith, serving the one who loved us and gave himself for us.

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Leaving It All Behind – Matthew 19:29

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. – Matthew 19:29 ESV

What are you willing to give up in order to follow Jesus? The passage preceding this verse answers this question from the perspective of both a wealthy young man and the disciples. The young man, when called on to give everything to the poor and then follow Jesus, went away sorrowful, unwilling to give up his great possessions. The disciples, on the other hand, had given up everything, and were promised thrones in heaven.

Jesus’ promise to us in this verse is that we will ultimately be more than compensated for the things we leave behind for him. Clearly Jesus is not asking us to totally abandon our family relationships; even on the cross he expressed concern about his mother. But he is calling on me to not allow those relationships, or any of my possessions, to come before him. He wants to be Lord, not just in the inner reaches of my heart, but in my relationships with other people, and in my handling of the things of this world.

Is there anything that you are unwilling to surrender to the lordship of Jesus? His promise to us is that if we will give him our all, our eternal reward will be much greater than anything we leave behind for him.

A Pearl of Great Price – Matthew 13:45-46

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. – Matthew 13:45-46 ESV

In the 13th chapter of Matthew we find a whole series of parables, most of which start with “the kingdom of heaven is like.” Each of these parables have a lesson to teach us about God’s kingdom, with this one expressing its value. What is the kingdom of heaven worth to me? Am I, like the merchant in the parable, willing to give up everything I have in order to obtain it? To be clear, the kingdom of heaven is not up for sale, there is nothing I can do to purchase my ticket into the kingdom. Yet at the same time the kingdom of heaven will cost me everything I have. It requires a dying to self, and a new life lived for Christ (Gal. 2:20; 5:24). Are you willing to give up everything for the sake of the kingdom, or is the pull of this world too strong (Matt. 6:24)?

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