I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me …. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. Galatians 2:20 & 6:14-16
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Let’s begin with a story entitled, “How To Ride A Bicycle”.
First I saw God as my observer, my judge keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of the President. I recognized His impact when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him. Later on, when I got to know Him better, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride... but, it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back letting me peddle. I don’t know just when it was that he suggested to me we change places, but life has not been the same since... life with God out in front makes life exciting.
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew insightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at breakneck speed. It was all I could do to hang on, even though it looked like madness, He said, "have faith." Feeling worried and anxious I asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I let go of my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I said, "I’m scared." He’d lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take with me on my journey... our journey. God’s and mine and we’re off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people I met, and found that in giving, I received, and still my burden was light. I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life, I thought He’d wrecked it, but He knows bike secrets. He knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high passes, and fly through shorter scary passages. I am learning to shut up and peddle in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view, and the cool breeze on my face, with God as my pure light, as my constant source of inner strength. When I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He smiles and says, "just keep peddling".
It is amazing how well life can go when life isn’t going so well. Think about that for a moment. Here is what I mean. When our connection to God is solid and our inner person is spiritually secure and well oriented to God’s presence, His ways, and how He is at work, we are able to go with the flow of whatever comes our way in life. If what is happening in our life situation is all important to us then most of the time “our world will be on top of us” because that is what ends up happening when we try to control the uncontrollable. But if Christ is ordering and maintaining the inner world of our human spirit, “we will be on top of our world” no matter what is going on with it. We will be free from our tendency to try to control it and our tendency to be conformed to it. I think this is the idea of the bicycle story.
We need to recognize and accept that life is much more out of our control than we think and that going with the flow of letting God be in charge of navigating the course our lives will take us is essential. Living a Godly life in the midst of a culture that is not compatible with our faith is absolutely a God thing. When God is in control, our developing faith and walk with him we will have a greater impact in shaping the world in which we live than the world will have in shaping our lives. Finding freedom from the tendency of trying to control the world we face and freedom from the tendency of being conformed to the world we face is a wonderful thing.
This is really what today’s passage is all about. Through our redemption in Christ, he takes up residence within our human spirit. The more Christ becomes established in us, the more our lives become him and not us. Christ is in the business of ordering our lives from the inside out and as he does we will be able to say “no” to things that don’t belong in our lives and “yes” to him and the work He wants to do in us and through us. This is very much a part of having an on “Top of the World” kind of life. It is also “resurrection living” and it is captured in these words from today’s passage, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
Our passage goes on to call this “New Creation ” living. Here is how “New Creation” living unfolds in our lives. It begins with seeking Christ. In seeking Him we gain an awareness of His presence. In the awareness of His presence we learn to be with Him. In being with Him we know and experience Him. The more we know and experience Him, the more with are filled with His presence and the qualities that are true of Him. And then the more His presence and the qualities that are true of Him fill our lives the more we live right and not wrong on a daily basis because he has dominion over our human spirit. So, it is death to self-empowered living and Amen to “New Creation” living. Let’s lift up our heart and hands to the Lord and “just keep peddling.”
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, help me to seek You and please never allow it to be that I would become hardened to seeking You. I know this is the starting point of you being alive and well within me and everything else unfolding from there. I choose to lay back in your gracious arms of love and strength and know you better and more fully. Truly you are able to accomplish the good work you have begun in me both now and until the very end. I lift up my heart and hands to you, Lord, and I “just keep peddling.” Amen!
Posted on Thu, April 5, 2018
by Ken Hart