This past year I have been reading through God’s Word using my mother’s Bible. Mom went to live with Jesus in 1996, and I have had her Bible on my bookshelf for all these years. I always love reading God’s Word, but this year has been kind of special as I see what verses my mother underlined. Sometimes I see a verse she underlined and think, “Yeah. That sounds like Mom.” Other times I read something she underlined and wonder what was going on in her life at the time that prompted that particular verse to speak to her.
Mom underlined three passages in the book of Galatians, and I’d like to share them with you today. The first is 2:20.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I no longer live.
A dead person has no goals, no plans or desires, no ego. Can I honestly say that describes me? Have I been crucified with Christ so that Connie no longer lives? That goes so contrary to the popular theme of the day, that “I” deserve, “I” need, “I” can, “I” am…
A dead man has no “I.” Do “I?”
Paul, understanding that there was still life in his body, explained how he could be a dead man walking: but Christ lives in me.
Jesus filled Paul’s body with HIS goals, plans, and desires, and Paul gladly offered his body to accomplish those things on Jesus’ heart. Paul had no ego. His life was no longer his, but Christ’s.
Paul also understood that life in this body comes with challenges. It is a constant battle with Satan. Paul explained in another verse my mother underlined, 5:16, how he could resist the temptations Satan threw his way:
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Paul didn’t say there wouldn’t be desires of the sinful nature. We are all tempted in some way or another. (think of the “I” mentality I spoke about earlier. The pull to gratify sinful desires is real.) But Paul knew that if the Spirit was directing him, the ability to resist those desires would be his as well.
The third passage Mom underlined was 5:24-26.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with the passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Crucifying that sinful nature can be a battle for me. Sometimes I feel like Paul in I Corinthians 15:31 because I, too, have to die daily. But I notice in this passage in Galatians, Paul gives me the key: keep in step with the Spirit. How? By spending time in God’s Word every day, praying for understanding and discernment, growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus, then I am able to keep in step with the Spirit who fills me.
These passages in Galatians highlight five things to me this morning:
- Crucified with Christ (is that true of me?)
- Christ in me (not just emptying myself, but replacing the “I” with Jesus)
- Live by the Spirit (being aware of His presence, making choices that He prompts me to make, spending time in God’s Word and in prayer every day)
- Belong to Christ (wow! I am His, and He is mine! Never alone. His precious child)
- Keep in step with the Spirit (I’m not emptied, then filled just to sit here and enjoy the ride. This part of these passages that spoke to my mother tells me the Spirit is on the move, and I better keep up!)
I’ve learned some things about my mother this year as I’ve read her Bible. But more importantly, I’ve learned some things about myself and my relationship with the Savior she loved.
My prayer is that today, I will not live. I pray that I will be a dead woman walking around with Jesus inside, my fingers touching the things He wants to touch, my feet going where He wants to go, my voice saying the things He wants to say. I pray that for you, too.