Devotional of the week: New life in Christ

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)

16c2ee57194ba240b6a73617759d685aI used to have Scripture memory cards, and this week’s verse was one of the first we memorized. It still rolls off my tongue as easily as the Hail Mary, which I learned as a youngster. (Yes, my background was varied with my Roman Catholic upbringing and my conservative Protestant university.)

But knowing something by heart and living it out are not always the same thing. Rather more often than I like to admit, my “old self” rears its ugly head and I’m not a good advertisement for Christ. Recently I heard myself snip at my husband during the frantic rush to get our kids to school on time. “You’re going to shower and shave?” I asked heatedly, as if the world would stop at this mad idea. So much for the fruits of the Spirit such as gentleness.

We sin, we apologize and ask for forgiveness, we turn from the old self and affirm that Christ lives within. Sometimes we have to come repeatedly to the Lord and our loved ones (or others) as we repent from our sins. It is Christ living in us who gives us the power to do so. And it is Christ living in us who will reduce the frequency of our outbursts.

Paul here was writing to the Galatians, and especially to what were known as Judaizers – Jewish Christians who argued that some of the ceremonial practices from the Old Testament were still binding after Christ. Throughout this letter Paul stresses the freedom that comes with Jesus, which we receive through grace and faith, not works. As we allow our old self to be crucified with Christ, through faith we put on the new; that is, Christ living in us. And he leads us into all freedom, even freedom from snipping at one’s husband.

Prayer: Lord, I have been crucified with you and I no longer live, but you live in me. Today help me to live in faith by you, because you love me and gave yourself for me.

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