Thursday July 15th, 2010
I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.
When I was a child I had a high annoying voice. (I’ve seen video.) I wore bright blue sweat pants and a bright blue sweatshirt to school. (In my defense, it was the eighties.) I played with G.I. Joe’s and built cities for them in my room out of old shoeboxes. I would watch Pee Wee Herman and get excited when the Disney Channel had a free preview weekend. I don’t really do any of those things anymore. If you went looking for that Jonathan, you wouldn’t find him because he doesn’t exist. Now I’m not going to make the case that my fashion improved, but it’s different. I graduated school, my toys are somewhere above my parent’s garage, (I think) and I gave up watching television a few years ago. I don’t even own one. (One of the better decisions I’ve made, but that’s a different topic.) That Jonathan died to give birth the adult version. Well… adolescence is a tough birth. But as a caterpillar changes into a butterfly, a child changes into an adult. (You may think I’m stretching the comparison a bit far, but I’m sure parent’s of teenagers will agree that their teens are about as responsive to them as if they were in cocoons. If your not sure, go try suggesting to your teen to do the dishes.)
In the same way, I’ve changed as an adult when I decided to follow Jesus. Now I made that decision when I was 18, so I wasn’t an adult for very long, and even that is arguable. But when I did, I changed on the inside. Things I didn’t think were that bad before were actually bad. I didn’t think they were that bad because I didn’t think anyone was watching or was hurt. But I was wrong. Every act of sin (imperfection in attitude towards God and others) hurts someone. Sometimes, it’s just God and me, but that’s enough for me to realize that it’s wrong. However, most of the time, others are hurt by it too. And there were things that I didn’t even know were bad, but I was doing them anyway. And then there were things that I thought were good, but they weren’t. They were bad. That was only part of the change. I also learned about things that were good and why they were good. I learned that doing good things aren’t always free and the best things cost the most. The absolute best thing for me is to go to heaven and that cost Jesus His life. And if He died for me, I should die for Him. So I did. I died. The me that was living for myself and the pleasures of this world has died. No funeral. No grave. Just dead. There were no good old days where I would sin care free and conviction-less to remember and remorse over. It was sin. It was selfish and needed to die. And when I gave my life to Christ, then His body counted for me and the sins that I committed hung on that cross that frightfully glorious day. I am no longer the sinful Jonathan that once existed, but I’m a new creation. I still make mistakes. I’m not yet perfect. I can still hurt people and I usually do it unknowingly now, but I’m getting better. The change is from the inside out and at my core is the Holy Spirit. I’ve decided to step aside in my own life and let God take control. I want to do what He says and when I’m calling Him “Lord,” I’m really calling him “boss” or “Master.” And all that means is that I do what He says. I read the Bible and if it says to do something that I’m not doing, I do it. If it says to not do something that I am doing, I stop doing it. I pray and ask God to lead me and then I follow. The selfish me is dead and this new me is alive and growing. Now I may still look like the old me. You may not be able to tell the difference, but one day, the inside will break free from this cocoon and you will see me glorious and perfect. I know this because I have faith that God will one day complete His work in me. I’ll have a new physical body made in the image of God and a new name and I can’t wait. But for now, as I live in this flesh, I live it in faith that Jesus will one day complete His work. He loved me so much to promise this good work to me. He paid His life to do it. I believe it.
(Okay, I admit this day is a bit confusing, but maybe it’s easier to understand the verse than to understand my explanation. I know what I said, and it helped me to say it. Just like sometimes when I do bad, I hurt only God and me, well… the opposite is also true. Sometimes when I do something good, it only brings joy to His face and understanding to my spirit. Kinda like talking in tongues. Check out 1 Corinthians 14:6-19 for tongues and John 14:26 for an explanation for both the Galatians verse and the 1 Corinthians verse. If you still don’t get it, go read James 1:5-8. If that doesn’t help, I’m sorry, but I can’t explain it to you. Matthew 7:6, Matthew 11:15)
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