When was the last time you died?
That’s a strange question. And yet, when hardships come, sometimes we’re buried beneath them. We feel dead or numb inside, or we die to a dream or a hope we once had, or we die to our calling because things didn’t turn out quite the way we imagined, or we die to a relationship that just never got put right.
Is that where you are right now?
Because sometimes we get lost in those kinds of deaths, and we forget about the Galatians 2:20 life. We say to God, “Look how I followed You, and see all the suffering it’s brought me, Lord.”
But being crucified with Christ isn’t bowing when hardships come or things don’t go my way, saying, “I guess this is just my cross to bear.”
The cross is not a place where hardship kills us. Jesus doesn’t call us to a John 10:10a death, where the enemy steals our joy, kills our relationships, and destroys our hope. Jesus calls us to abundant life. John 10:10b. And that life is only found when I die to myself so I can come alive in Him.
What is crucified on that Galatians 2:20 cross is me. My pride. My sin. My way. Matthew 10:38, 16:24.
Pride runs over others to get my way. It feigns to listen, but then disregards the wisdom, need, or concern voiced. It tells God what I want and imagines God agrees, then marches out to accomplish my own will. Romans 12:3, James 1:22, Isaiah 55:8-9. It stands on verses that achieve what I desire, while ignoring others that say what I don’t want to hear.
If things don’t go as I want them to, pride makes me irritated, controlling, critical, frustrated, discouraged or anxious. I might even feel a tinge of self-pity. I call those “Myway” thoughts—what I think, what I want, what I’m afraid of, or how things will affect me or my plans.
But 1 Corinthians 8:1 tells us the opposite of pride is love. The same kind of selfless love Jesus demonstrated when He died on the cross. John 15:13, 1 John 4:10, 19, 5:3. All my sacrifices, sufferings, and even accomplishments amount to nothing without it. 1 Samuel 15:22, 1 Corinthians 13. To be crucified with Christ, then, is to die to myself. To let go of my way, and to surrender to God’s way—the way of selfless love. Only then do I truly come alive in Christ. John 15:1-17, Matthew 22:37-40.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)