Galatians 2:20 is the verse I’m looking at today: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
To crucify is to put someone to death by nailing or binding them to a cross. My old self, my flesh, died with Christ. And my new self now lives because Christ lives in me. What would being crucified with Christ look like practically in my life?
A.W. Tozer says that people who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. they are facing only one direction,
2. they can never turn back, and
3. they no longer have plans of their own.
Point One. Facing only one direction. Our eyes should be focused on Christ. Our feet should be turned towards Christ as we follow Him in every step and every action. Joshua 23:6 says, “Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left.” It is not always easy to do what’s right. That’s why this verse says that we need to be very strong to obey God’s commands. Sometimes jumping the ditch and turning left into the forest or swerving right to walk with your friends seems like the easier choice. But that doesn’t make it right.
Proverbs 4:27 says, “Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” We cannot say we are following Christ one day but then follow the world the next. We cannot have one foot in sin and one foot on the right path and say that we are obeying God. If we truly are wholeheartedly committed to Christ, we will not be pursuing evil or the things of this world. We will be running hard after Christ.
Point Two. Don’t turn back. Philippians 3:12-14 says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We need to pursue growth. We can’t let the mistakes of our past weigh us down and cause us to stop trying. If we repent, Christ forgives us completely. We need to get up, stop sinning, and keep going. We will always have room for improvement, areas in our life that need work, but if we keep looking back over our shoulder at the mistakes we’ve made or all the times we’ve fallen, we are much more likely to trip up again because we are not focused on where we are going. Our eyes need to be fixed firmly on Christ.
Point Three. No more plans of our own. My plans are just that. They’re MY plans. They don’t take into account anyone but myself—not even God or His Will. I make plans because it’s MY life. And I want to live it however I want to live it. I have dreams because those hopes or those chapters that I want to write into my life seem like the best fit for me. Those stories that I want to tell with my life are what I think would ultimately make me happy.
But if I stop to think about that logic, I realize…it’s not my life in the first place. Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” If this life is truly Christ’s, then I won’t be focused on my dreams, my calendar, my agenda, my hopes, or my desires. Instead I will be focused on accomplishing His Will for me.
Ian Thomas says it this way: “The Christian life can only be explained in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you—your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything—then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it!” My desires should not be describing me; my dreams should not be defining my future. When people see me, they should see me reflecting the love of Christ. When people hear my name, they should link it with my Savior. My life should make it obvious who I follow.
Crucified with Christ. Following Him so closely that nothing can squeeze itself between you and Him. Obeying Him even when it’s hard. Surrendering our desires and replacing them with His. Living this life for Him.