Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Galatians is tricky

Somehow, in my mind, I have always slotted Galatians as the epistle I could figure out. It just sounds happier, less complicated, than say "ROMANS" (as the lightning crashes and thunder rolls). Do you know what I mean? Say some one asks what your cell group is studying. If you answer "Galatians" they'll say, "oh, nice". If you say "Romans", they'll think your cell group is ultra-spiritual for tackling such a heavy book.

But this morning I read Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

I've always found this verse freeing to some extent. Almost like I get to be that passive, irresponsible, "hey it's not up to me" kind of person.

But then I grow up a bit and realize that this is hard. It means dying to self and choosing what Christ would choose over what I want in my flesh. It is being the ultimate in responsible: no more shoddy excuses for bad behaviour because all that sin was supposed to have been crucified. This is getting much more difficult.

Then today, I read Oswald Chambers on this. It just made it worse. He writes:

These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own band and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual in dependence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ.

The line "It means breaking the husk of my individual in dependece of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself..."; that is complicated. So my choosing to do what Jesus wants isn't just enough. I can't say "well I really don't feel like doing this, but I should so here I go to do it anyway because it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me."

The emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself.

I need to still get to the place where I am freed to not be bound by the lack of desire to obey in my flesh. I need to still get to the place where my very essence has blended so completely with Jesus' that it is a literal oneness. Not I choose His will over mine: His will IS mine.

This is kind of making my head hurt because it seems so incredibly impossible this side of Heaven.

For years if people asked me "what is the Lord teaching you these days?" I would say "Oh, I'm learning to die to self".

And I really meant that. But today I think I just realized that I haven't been putting my self to death. I've been putting self into Time Out.

I have a lot of thinking to do today. How do you go from "being dependent on God" to becoming actually one with Him? How do you go from living "like" Him to living "as" Him?



halfpint said...

no help from me but you have me thinking my friend. I definately have been on time-out. But sometimes I sneak off when I think no one is looking. My mind is a fog,how about that time change? I feel like crawling into a hole and catching up on months of sleep.....

timheerebout said...

I'm certainly not going to pretend that I've got this figured out. There is one small thing that comes to mind as I read. Here we have again the age old tension of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. I note that the verse in question is in the present tense "I am crucified..." which I would take to mean this is done in me. The battle is won so far as it needs to be won. Christ is in me and I in him. So the comfort of God's sovereignty needs to wash over us.

Once we a full dose of God's reign then we can turn to the husks we need to peel away. We all have them and by God's grace and through the gift of faith in Christ they are being peeled away. We can easily get lost in the parts of the husk that still remain... but what about the parts that are now gone? Have they not died, in fact is the whole husk not dead by the time it's begun to be peeled away?

I know this could seem like human optimism but I pray it comes across as faith in the work of the cross that will be gradually completed in each of us as we wrestle with these questions.

Kate said...

We're studying Romans - are we ultra-spiritual? :) It is a Max Lucado study guide so it makes it a little easier to understand and digest!