By Tim Rowe
Who is writing the story of your life? Who is taking up the pen daily to write another chapter? Whom or what owns your life? Whom or what controls your life? Whom or what is directing your life? Are we wasting our lives by yielding them to things that in the long run do not matter? Is the story of our life fixed and set on God and eternity that becomes a motivating factor in how we live? Or are we letting life slip away under the control and influence of temporal things will soon fade away? Are we chasing the wind and building our lives on sinking sand? Whom or what is the most influential person or thing in your life? Is our life going somewhere or nowhere? Has God conquered your life and have you surrendered it in all aspects and facets to be His?
Remember the words of the famous Beatle song?
He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans For nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Without God and the salvation in Christ a man or woman is doomed to be a nowhere man or woman, aimlessly wandering in the darkness of this world.
Tozer in The Divine Conquest says, “The experience with men that walked with God in olden time agree to teach that the Lord cannot bless a man until He has first conquered Him. The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man will correspond exactly with the completeness of God’s victory over him…Only the conquered can know true blessedness…For life we are wholly and continually dependent upon God, the Source and Fountain of life. Only by full dependence upon Him are the hidden potentials of our natures realized. Apart from this we are but half-men, malformed and unbeautiful members of a noble race once made to wear the image of its Creator…It was to save Jacob from deceptive hope that God confronted him that night on the bank of the river. To save him from self-trust it was necessary for God to conquer him, to wrest control away from him, to take his great power and rule with a rod of love…We might pray well for God to invade and conquer us, for until he does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration. The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can only come to us by the defeat of our old life…Real faith must always mean more than passive acceptance. It dare mean nothing less than surrender of our doomed Adamlike nature to a merciful end upon the cross…There begins the divine conquest of our lives.”
Eric Ludy-When the gospel it truly received it costs you everything, your life, your old ways, your old mannerisms, your old self. This is a cost that comes in knowing God and the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot hold on to a scrap of the old you. The problem is us. We have a born disposition that is in rebellion against the most High God. I want my life on my terms. I want the benefit of Jesus Christ and have Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father on my terms. I want a little of the peace, a little of the joy, a little of the power and of course then get out of hell free card. But that is about all I want now because I want to be a Christian on MY terms. You can have all that Jesus Christ is but there is a little caveat: He gets all that you are. Oh the glow, the soul satisfaction, the radiance that comes from giving our all, our entire lives, EVERYTHING to Him. Few want to live Christianity like this. Can you look God square in face and say you made me, you fashioned me for a purpose and a destiny, you gave your Son to set me free, and I now give you my life and will do what you require me to do. I don’t want my way. I want your way.
Eric Ludy-Do you know you have a thousand moments in every day that you need to be rescued and delivered? From what? From YOU, from the problem of you. You have a desire; you have an esteem for that very throne in your life. You want to be in control; you want it to be your way. You are a problem; you are a rebel against the kingdom agenda. We have a tendency to undermine the very fabric of the gospel which is a living, vibrant abiding relationship. And that is where the fire comes in. If you are not living in the life of Jesus Christ, if you are not abiding in the light of holiness, then you are living a false existence under the banner of all these things that are true. May we dare not live out such a Christianity.
Galatians 2:20 (NIV): 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
As alluded to above, the preposition sun speaks of a believer’s union or identification with Christ. The use of the perfect tense is very instructive, signifying that the believer has been crucified with Christ at a specific point in time in the past and that the effects of this crucifixion persist or continue into the present. Stated another way, the perfect tense speaks of a past completed action having present finished results.
Bruce writes that…
“The perfect tense…emphasizes that participation in the crucified Christ has become the believer’s settled way of life.” (Bruce, FF: Epistle to the Galatians (New International Greek Testament Commentary. Erdman, 1982)
George Mueller, when questioned about his spiritual power, responded simply, “One day George Mueller died.”
WE MUST REALIZE THAT CHRISTIANITY IN OUR LIVES BEGINS WITH OUR OLD LIFE BEING CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. CHRIST IS NOW TO LIVE HIS LIFE THROUGH AND IN US. WE DO NOT OWN OUR LIFE. IT IS HIS.
Romans 6:4-13 (NIV):
4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
It is important to know that the old man is immutable! He will never change! He is ever and always CORRUPT! The old man will never improve himself (in fact, when you are saved the old man will seem even worse!). The old man will never reform. He is incorrigible! He is utterly depraved and will always be so. When a person is saved the old man is not changed and the old man is not transformed. How then does (did) God deal with the old man? God does not change the old man. God does not transform the old man. What did God do with your old self? What did God do with all that you are and all that you have in Adam? Romans 6:6 answers this: “OUR OLD MAN WAS (past tense) CRUCIFIED WITH HIM.”
From Don’t Waste Your Life-John Piper
The question, “Who among men are the dead and who are the living?” is often the most difficult to answer. Indeed, there is but one person who can determine this point with absolute certainty, and that is he who alone among men has dared to take to himself the name of “The Life.” He, looking at those who seemed to bear every semblance and feature of living men, startled and maddened them by declaring that they were but “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful without, but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Looking, again, upon one who was lying upon her couch, pale and pulseless and without breath, he allowed himself to be laughed to scorn for saying, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth.”
St. Paul declares, ” I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live.” Crucifixion certainly means death; not a mere maimed and mutilated life, as some have supposed. It was not simply that Paul was constantly finding his Master’s cross in the midst of his labours, and being wounded by the offence and persecuted by the enmity which it stirred up. In a very real sense he had been crucified with Christ in His crucifixion on Calvary, and had become dead with Him. Nor was he alone in this. He was constantly addressing his fellow-Christians as those that were dead. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” “For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” These and similar passages emphasize in the most solemn manner the fact that the believer has died in Christ; but this death is everywhere represented as the counterpart and condition of a far more exalted life than was ever known before.
The cross has cut us off from the world only that we might be joined on to God; the nail has penetrated and slain the old life only that it might find and lay open the fountains of a new life in the wounded heart of Jesus Christ. “Dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” — this is the signature which has been stamped upon all who have been new created after the image of Christ.
The Apostle Paul exclaims: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Is not his meaning plain ? His attachment to this present evil world, his bondage to its laws and principles, had been sundered by a stroke of crucifixion light. But the blow that cleft him from his earthly connections, liberated him unto the life of God through Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV):
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
John Piper-Don’t Waste your Life
So here is the question to test whether you have been sucked into this world’s distortion of love: Would you feel more loved by God if he made much of you, or if he liberated you from the bondage of self-regard, at great cost to himself, so that you enjoy making much of him forever?
Suppose you answer, “I want to be free from self and full of joy in God; I want to enjoy making much of God, not me. And I want the fullness of my joy to last forever.
I was free to embrace the end of my old quest: the Point, the Purpose, the Focus, and the Essence of it all. It was real. It was objective. It was there. And it was rooted in the very essence of what God is in himself. He is glorious, beautiful, and magnificent in his manifold perfections. They are infinite, eternal, and unchanging. They are Truth and Justice and Goodness and Wisdom and Power and Love. Flowing out from what he is in himself comes the purpose for our existence. God’s passion for his own glory gives birth to ours. That is the single, all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.
God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life I was free to embrace the end of my old quest: the Point, the Purpose, the Focus, and the Essence of it all. It was real. It was objective. It was there. And it was rooted in the very essence of what God is in himself. He is glorious, beautiful, and magnificent in his manifold perfections. They are infinite, eternal, and unchanging. They are Truth and Justice and Goodness and Wisdom and Power and Love. Flowing out from what he is in himself comes the purpose for our existence. God’s passion for his own glory gives birth to ours. That is the single, all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.
God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.
The gospel is after your life. The gospel wants you. The gospel is about a purchase and that purchase is of you. You are not your own.
II Corinthians 5:14-17 (NIV):
14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
WE NO LONGER LIVE TO OURSELVES AS OUR OLD LIFE DIED. WE ARE A NEW CREATION, AND A NEW LIFE BORN FROM THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FINISHED WORK OF JESUS CHRIST HAS BEGUN.
I Corinthians 6:19,20 (NLT)
19Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
20You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
We were bought for the highest price so we can become God’s own precious possession and honor and bring glory to God in everything we do.
Romans 14:8,9b (NLT):
8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose
Christianity, as we know it in this modern era, has grown soft. It lacks backbone, grit and bravehearted men and women willing to live and die for Jesus Christ. But not only has it become soft, it’s grown worldly and coarse. As modern Christians, all too many of us have lost the purity, the godly character, and the noble selflessness that God intended us to have as His sons and daughters. Christian honor is hard to come by in today’s self-indulgent church.
From the Ellerslie Training: God desires to lead each of His children through honor training; to equip us to showcase His nature and character through our actions, attitudes and daily conduct. But not many of us even realize this vital element of grace is missing from our Christian lives. Honor is simply: God’s grace in action, in word, in countenance, and in attitude. It’s the Christian man or woman being made into an actual, real-life picture of grace for the world to witness.
James 4:5-8a (Amplified)
4You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.
5Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?
6But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).
7So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.
8Come close to God and He will come close to you.
Humility is not thinking humbly of oneself. Rather, it is having the proper estimate of oneself in relationship to God. The Christian virtue of humility is the exact opposite of the worst of sins, which is pride. The pagan world did not admire humility. Instead, they admired pride and domination. The person with humility thinks of others first and not of himself and admits to a sense of dependence on God. Humility is putting God on the throne of your life and making sure that the old self, the selfish master, does not again ascend to the throne but remains crucified.
Philippians 2:3-11 (KJV):
3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV):
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The mood of have died is indicative which is the mood of reality indicating that our death with Christ was a real event.
The old life is dead. You are dead to it. You will not be consumed by it; you cannot be controlled by it. You have a newer and higher life. Let it have full scope.
Oswald Chambers writes that…
The Spirit of God testifies to and confirms the simple, but almighty, security of the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul continually brought this out in his New Testament letters. We talk as if living a sanctified life were the most uncertain and insecure thing we could do. Yet it is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God. For one who is born again, it is easier to live in a right-standing relationship with God than it is to go wrong, provided we heed God’s warnings and “walk in the light”
Galatians 6:14-18 (NLT):
14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
We have been also crucified to the world (kosmos). Wuest, in his Word Studies of the Greek New Testament, defines kosmos as follows:
The word kosmos is used to refer to the world
system, wicked and alienated from God, yet
cultured, educated, powerful, outwardly moral
at times, the system of which Satan is the head,
the fallen angels and the demons are his servants,
and all mankind other than the saved, are his
subjects. This includes those people, pursuits,
pleasures, purposes, and places where God is
Norman Harrison observes that…
God’s one way of defeating the world is to crucify it, and with it the “I” to whom the world makes its appeal. As the flesh was crucified jointly with Christ, so likewise the world that works hand in glove with the flesh for my undoing. God’s great antithesis is carrying through to care for every point of practical difficulty. I and the world must be separated; so I and the world are set on opposite and opposing sides. If I am on His Side I am not on the world’s side. If I am on the world’s side, giving my allegiance to the world, I am no longer on His Side; I have denied the cross and the Christ by which and by whom — both translations are equally permissible — the separation was effected. I am back on Our Side; there is no middle ground.
We are to LIVE a NEW LIFE of TRANSFORMATION, CRUCIFIED to OUR OLD MAN and THE WORLD and JOINED to God as His precious daughter or son