By Karen Friday
“I didn’t see me do it.”
A spunky four year old, my son Caleb trailed along with me to a school-aged day care. As the program director, I received special permission for him to join the kindergarteners.
The class lined the hallway for the restroom. The daycare worker watched the scene unfold with a momentary lapse of a key rule—keep your hands to yourself. Poking and laughing, the girl behind Caleb wanted his attention. She got it. His hand careened into her shoulder.
Tattletales rose to the occasion. Each eye-witness confirming, “I saw Caleb do it.” As the overwhelming evidence was convicting, he spouted his only hope—he hadn’t seen himself do it. Unlike the others, he couldn’t verify the accounts.
1. The Flesh Factor. Stop living for Jesus, your flesh can’t do it.
When I became a Christ-follower at sixteen, mature ladies in our church encouraged, “Dear, live for Jesus.” This was my desire. By outward actions, it appeared I was doing it—living for Jesus.
Reading my Bible. Praying. Telling others about Jesus. Attending a church youth group. Vying to wear the good-girl crown in high school. Each were marked off the Christian checklist. But I knew something was missing. I became disillusion with how to live for Him. Everyone saw me do it. However, I didn’t see me do it.
My behavior didn’t always line up with my beliefs. I yearned for consistency. It seemed I was going through the motions of the Christian life.
I wanted authentic faith in real life, to be known as, “the Dear who lives for Jesus.”
My freshman year of college, I met a strong Christian woman who modeled a scriptural truth. I can’t live for Jesus. Not in my own power. I needed Jesus to live in and through me. Reigning over my flesh.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).
If I die (the former me), what remains? Christ lives in me. Justification is by faith in the cross. God is doing the work. If I could live for Jesus, then I am doing the work. I could live for any god or religious belief.
The characteristics I desired in my life were attainable through Jesus’ power on the inside of me. From the inside out.
There is overwhelming evidence your flesh can’t live for Jesus. You will never be able to verify accounts of seeing yourself do it. We will never perfect the flesh. (Galatians 3:3.) Salvation and Christian living are obtained in the Spirit.
2. The Spirit Factor. Stop living for Jesus, let His Spirit live in you.
Jesus living in you is accomplished by His Spirit. Galatians 5 notes: “walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (verse 16); “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (verses 22-23); “live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (verse 25).
The gospel message of the cross brings freedom (Galatians 5:1). I am set free not only from my sins, but in striving to live for Jesus. My futile efforts.
John Piper, “Galatians exalts these two things: the cross of Christ as the only way a person can get right with God, and the Spirit of Christ as the only way a person can obey God.”
I didn’t see me do it! The cross and the Spirit do it. “Jesus in me, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 ESV).
3. The Glory Factor. Stop living for Jesus, let His Glory live in you.
The apostle Paul lived adamantly for his beliefs in Judaism. His bio portrays his accomplishments in the flesh and in religion. Violently persecuting the church of God before coming to Christ. “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. And they glorified God because of me” (Galatians 1:23 ESV).
They glorified who? God. Because of who? Me.
Could this drastic change take place by man’s efforts? It was a supernatural transformation. Jesus living in Paul.
Are people glorifying God because of me?
Your flesh + walking in the Spirit + God’s glory = Jesus living in you.
I’m going to say it like this, I’m not living for Jesus. I didn’t see me do it.
© 2015 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
August 6, 2015 at 8:28 am | Uncategorized