A Christ Not in Us...
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (v. 20)
We saw yesterday that the apostle Paul claimed his labors were energized by the grace given to him by God. He says something similar in the text before us today: "I no longer live ... Christ lives in me." The apostle had learned that it was not enough to give all of his strength to the work of Christ, though he certainly did that; he had to receive Christ's strength in order to do His work. I have seen Christians suffer a breakdown as a result of trying to live the Christian life in their own strength.
On one occasion I was present at a dinner given in honor of a certain bishop. During the after-dinner speeches I heard a layman make a terrible blunder when he declared: "Bishop, we are both doing God's work; you in your way, and I in His." Question yourself at this very moment and ask: Am I doing God's work in my own way or in His? "A Christ not in us, imparting His grace to us," said the great preacher William Law, "is the same as a Christ not ours." I don?t know about you but I find those words terribly challenging. Is this why so many of us fail to go as deeply with God as we ought? We have received Christ but we do not allow Him to diffuse Himself through all our faculties, to animate us with His life and Spirit. Let William Law's words strike deep into your soul: "A Christ not in us, imparting His grace ... is the same as a Christ not ours."
Gracious and loving Father, your challenges are my salvation. You wound in order to win me. Help me to take my medicine without complaining and open myself up to all that You are saying to me in the words I have read today. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What did grace enable Paul to do?
2. What did James declare?