“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2: 20). Paul is saying something like this: “I no longer have a life of my own, the only life I have is the life that God puts into me through Christ.” It would be hard to imagine a text more antithetical to our contemporary culture. Consider these words from the actress Shirley Maclaine: “The most pleasurable journey you take is through yourself, the only sustaining love involvement is with yourself, when you look back on your life and try to figure out where you’ve been and where you are going, when you look at your work, your love affairs, your marriages, your children, your pain, your happiness—when you examine all that closely, what you really find out is that the only person you really go to bed with is yourself. The only person you really dress is yourself. The only thing you have working to the consummation of your identity.”
Philip Ryken writes, “Maclaine’s words capture the spirit of the spirit of this selfish age. Moderns and post-moderns alike are obsessed with themselves. Self-esteem, self-improvement, self-fulfillment, self-indulgence, whatever you want, as long as it begins with your “self.” In these self-absorbed times, the Bible announces the death of the self: “it is no longer I who live.” The world no longer revolves around me. I am no longer dominated by thoughts of my own pleasure and prestige. If I have a life at all, it is only the life that Christ lives in me. This does not mean that becoming a Christian is a kind of suicide. We still have a normal physical existence, of course, what Paul calls, “the life I now live in the flesh.” Since it is the life I live, I even have a self, but the only self I have is the one united to Christ by faith. My life is the life that Christ lives in me, the life “I live by faith in the Son of God.”
This week identify areas in which you are living your life, as opposed to Christ living His life through you. Some examples are: job, marriage, children, finances, church life. We have no self, except the self that we have in Him. To have a “healthy self-image” then, is to see ourselves as we are in Christ. Study and meditate on Romans 6.
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