“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 (TNIV)
Live (verb) [ζῶ (Gal 2:20 BGT)]
- of natural life, of the conduct of life, be well, recover, as surely as I live, life—
- of the life of the child of God.
What does it mean to “live”? It seems to me that our lives so often get filled with busyness, getting things done, achieving, performance, and so much more that we often do not have time to simply live, or we forget what it means to live. We may be breathing and blood may be pumping through our bodies, but when we pause for a moment, we ask ourselves, are we truly living?
It seems to me that we have become enslaved to the notions that have been presented to us through media, many relationships, and even institutions. We can resonate with the words of Jesus found in the first part of John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
What is the thief stealing, killing, and destroying? Our lives.
Yet, Jesus goes on to say this in the second part of that verse:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
How do we have this life to the full? By simply recognizing that our identities are wrapped up into a new Reality. The writer of the verse in Galatians, Paul, sums it up best when he states that we have been crucified with Christ. Jesus represents all of us in our shared humanity and was crucified for humanity out of the world’s thirst for power and violence. On that cross and throughout the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, our old, enslaved, dead-end lives have been crucified and absorbed by Jesus. In its place, Jesus has given us himself and our identities are wrapped up in Christ and given the chance to live life to the full, to become, as Thomas Merton and others have said through the years, our “true selves”.
As the church, we are called to be the “body of Christ”, which is universal to the whole of humanity. We are called to live out this new Reality. We are called to have freedom from the things that enslave us and to boldly occupy our identity as Christ followers. A few years ago, I used a poker analogy with a group of students at Northminster Presbyterian where I was the Associate Pastor for students and families at the time, asking them if they’d be willing to go “all in” in pursuing this God who pursues us and binds us together. They did and the student ministry at Northminster took off.
Students, and adults, all of us, need to see this new Reality, especially in a world becoming increasingly isolated and yearning for authentic friendships. It is my hope during this upcoming season of Lent that we can empty ourselves and let God’s divine flow fill us. May we be “all in” as a church in building up Christ’s body to effectively be a part of the transformation the world around us and around the world! Together, all of us, with Christ living in and through us, let’s reach out to our neighbors and their families sharing with them abundant or full living!