“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24 ESV).
I don’t know about you, but I very rarely think about belonging to Christ Jesus. I think of myself as a Christian. I think of myself as saved. I think about God as being my Father. but belonging to Christ Jesus? It seems such a foreign idea.
At great risk of making myself (and you!) uncomfortable I’d like to point out that becoming a Christian has never meant giving your heart to Jesus. Selah (pause and think about that for a moment!).
Jesus never asked for our hearts. He wants ALL of us. He gave His life for us, and He asks us to give our lives to and for Him. This is not an easy thing to hear; and it’s even more difficult to implement.
We like our Christianity easy. I like my Christianity easy.
I want to go to church on the weekend, have my daily devotional time, and that’s about it. I don’t want to be reminded that there’s this thing called sin that I need to eliminate from my life. And I’m not talking about legalism; I’m talking about death! “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (sins!)”.
We try to stay away from the “big” sins, because we want to keep up appearances. We try to “not sweat the small stuff.” But if we belong to Christ we have… crucified?? Whoa! The pastor or evangelist never said anything about me being crucified!
Here’s a video detailing some of the effects of Jesus’ crucifixion from the perspective of a Trauma Doctor:
Crucifixion was never easy. It was always a very painful way to die. It’s no coincidence that Paul described our sanctification as a crucifixion. We can never deal with our sin nature by mere effort. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you man not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4-5).
I’m not pointing fingers at anyone but myself. I confess that I do not live up to the standard of Galatians 5:24. I cannot encourage you, as did Paul, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV), for I am yet so un-Christ-like. Instead I urge you to examine yourself. Be ready to make whatever changes might be necessary to your life as you walk the path toward sanctification. This path is not a path of condemnation. It is not us trying to be saved. It should flow out of a love for Jesus and a deep desire to be holy as He is holy.