January 14, 2021
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NLT
No doubt living this drastically new life as a Jesus-follower seems difficult, perhaps impossible. It is impossible, and we will find ourselves living a life that is frustrating and filled with failure if we are trying desperately to be like Jesus. The idea of WWJD—What Would Jesus Do? sounds good and plausible, but it takes much more than having a motto and wearing a bracelet to take our old natural selves and try to shape them into a true follower of Jesus. We need a new identity in order to do that, and Paul says we get the new identity by crucifying the old one. It is then no longer the old me trying to act new. I truly AM new. I have a new identity.
We often build our lives on an identity we have created or an adapted self-proclaimed identity. Sometimes life will tear part of that identity down, and we desperately try to build a new one from the ground up. Our identities become carefully guarded and protected.
But being in Christ, being His follower, means we have to let go of past fleshly identities. Followers of Christ belong to Jesus. We don’t belong to ourselves. Jesus is in charge, not us. Paul puts it powerfully in Galatians 2:20. He tells us that life in Christ requires death to our old identities. When we are in Christ our identities change.
We say things like, “I’m living my best life now,” and “To thine own self be true.” Actually, Hamlet said that, not Jesus. The life of a Jesus-follower is not focused on self-fulfillment or “your best life now.” We humans are attracted to warm fuzzy feelings and immediate gratification. We tend to build our identities on things that are not lasting, and even if it is a good thing but not for the right reasons, it’s a problem. Jesus said repeatedly, “If you want to be My follower, deny yourself. Let Me live through you. Find your identity and life in Me.” It’s hard and challenging—but the reward is great to be fully identified with Christ, rooted deeply in Someone who will never shake or fail.
“No longer me but Christ who lives in me.” Jesus-followers are primarily identified by their connection to Jesus. Is that the way you are most identifiable?
- Pray: Jesus, I want to be so identified with You that You are what people see in me. I want to let go of everything that would distract people from seeing You in me.
- If Jesus points out a distraction, cut it out of your life.