"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
Into Thy Word -
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me@ (Gal. 2:20).
The Call that Christ gives us:
These words simply mean that I chose to break away from my way of doing things, and to focus on and embrace God's ways. These words mean the break up of my independence: the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. So, still confused, it means that I am not the focus of my life, it is not about me, since I am in Christ. It is not about you, it is about Him.
No one can do this for you, no parent or pastor, you must do it yourself. You must take the step to go up to the plate, if you are going to play in the game. You have to get onto the field, put on the glove and pay attention to participate. You cannot just watch others play, or watch your parents or family, or read it in a book, you must go out there yourself.
God may bring you up to the plate of opportunities all year long, but He will not push you through it; He will pitch, you must swing. You have to give up your self-centered independence from God, and take ownership of what He has done for you. You have to embrace oneness with Him; that is not following your own ideas, but choosing absolute loyalty to Jesus. Even going against your Christian friends, who have God so wrapped up in a meat box that they keep Him at a safe distance. Because if they dared open up His gift, they will lose their precious independence, and selfish ambitions.
Most people do not want to surrender themselves, but unless you do, you cannot grow in Christ, you cannot mature in faith. If you think you can wait and do this later in life; you are wrong! It is much, much, much, harder to do it then. Did you know that over 90% of people who come to be Christians are in High School! It is very rare to do it as an adult, because you have had a lifetime of independence and rationalization living away from God. This can even be true if you still go to a church.
Once you come to that point of total loyalty to the Lord, there is no possibility of mistake that you belong to Him, and not to yourselves. You will not know anything about loyalty to Christ, unless you understand what He meant when He said, For My sake@, "Because of me", (This is what committed Christianity looks like, we will fail, and we must retry, because with grace and the Holy Spirit we will succeed in Him when we allow Him to work and be that bondservant!) in the B-Attitudes (Matthew 5:11). Your identity of who you are is because of what Christ has done. Not just knowing about it, not just going to church, not just wearing Christian t-shirts and bracelets, but letting that knowledge travel 18 inches down into your heart. This is what makes a strong Christian that God can truly use.
Has that break-up of your independence come yet? Is there anything in the way of God in your life? Anything else is, being a religious pious fraud, a hypocrite. The main point to decide in your life is not what College you will go to, or who will I go out with, or will I try pot, or will I go to the spot and drink with my friends, or will I get this car I want, or can I just get out of here; the point of life is what will I give up? Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, making Him Lord of my life, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the destruction of my will may come?
Once you have broken away from your own understanding of yourself. When you reach that point, immediately the reality of the cross will hit you. You will be forever supernaturally identified with Jesus Christ as your Lord. Then the reality of this passage and the meaning of life, and the best plan there is for you, will all unfold before you. And the witness of the Spirit of God will be living in you. I have been crucified with Christ.
The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away your own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. That is the lowest level of a slave in Paul's time. That means your life will no longer belong to you. Until you do that, you will not begin to be a growing Christian, one that God can use. You will just grow up to be bitter and fall away from the Church, if you stay, you will just occupy a place in the pew. You will be critical, cynical, and condescending to those around you, and a stench in the face of the Lord! God does not desire this for your life; He loves you and wants your best.
Your sole value for existence is for God to help Himself to you, and use you in the lives of people around you. Will you allow Him to help Himself to you, or are you more concerned with your own ideas of what you are going to be? He already has given His best for you!
One of the main problems of why young people and Christians go bad in their motives and behaviors is that they forget who they are. Too many people who go to a church do not have a clue what it is all about. The noise and busyness of life takes over the time slot that was originally reserved for God. So our time and excitement of church becomes clouded, preventing us from remembering what it is supposed to be about. So we forget who we are, and what we are called to do.
Thus, week by week we hurry ourselves and drag the family to go to church, through the tyranny of the daily grind, and sit in our pews, trying to recover from the exhaustion, hoping our struggle is not in vain. Thus we give little effort to what the words mean when we worship or sing a hymn, or what the pastor is talking about at the pulpit, or the beauty of the liturgy and the power and conviction of the words. We are just playing a part in a play without allowing the character to become who we are. Church becomes just a routine and not the church that Christ created for us to be.
It is our Call as Christians and youth workers to disciple Young people, so that they can realize who they are in Christ, and challenge them to get out of their comfort zone. So they do not fall into a rut; into pew sitting Christians who just come to church and never do anything with their faith.
This means for our young people that no one can do this for them, no parent or pastor, they must do it for themselves by surrendering to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That God may bring them up to the plate of opportunities all year long, but He will not push them through it; He will pitch, they must swing!
Yet most people do not want to surrender themselves, but unless they do, they cannot grow in Christ, they cannot mature in faith. But once they have broken away from their own understanding of themselves, and when they reach that point, immediately the reality of the cross will hit! Then the real growth and discipleship in Christ begins.
The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away our own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. This can only happen with your part, just as a pastor preaching an incredible sermon, we have to hear it and apply it to make it incredible. We can do this together as a faith community, first by the parents, then by the church.
Please go to the Lord as prayer warriors, and seek Him on what role He is really calling you to for our Young people!
Richard Joseph Krejcir, is the Director of Into Thy Word Ministries, a discipleing ministry. He is also a pastor, teacher, speaker is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California and has amounted nearly 20 years of pastoral ministry experience mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant.