June 2005 Calendar Article
Our Theme for 2005:
Living for Jesus
“Christ Lives in Me”
—By Wayne Anderson
In our theme for 2005, “Living for Jesus,” we are exploring different aspects of what it means to live for Jesus. The apostle Paul brings to us a very challenging position, that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. We are thus called not to imitate Christ or even to ask the popular question, What would Jesus Do? (WWJD) in our efforts live for Jesus, but rather to die to self and allow Christ to live in me. This requires the complete submission of my will, of my sinful desires, of my selfish ambitions to the supremacy of Christ. Only then may the nature of Christ be truly reflected in me.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me….” He also said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5). The fruit we bear comes only from Christ living in us. It is not from our will or desire or ability, but by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I must never consider that somehow the fruit or works or submission make me righteous and thus deserving these blessings. Paul continued in verse 21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
When I have truly died to self and allowed Christ to fully live in me, my life may be transformed into the spiritual life God desires for me through obedience to His will. Jesus says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are free to the core from the inside out. Free from guilt and despair. Free to enjoy and appreciate His greatest blessings. I know this continues to be a struggle and I may not completely and permanently die to self in this life. But to the extent that I maintain my will and do not die to self, I prohibit myself from being the total person I was created to become.
Paul defines the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He adds, “Against such things there is no law” (Ephesians 5:22-23). I believe that all people everywhere would like to have all of these qualities in their lives and growing in quantity and quality. This is the promise of God. We not only have the free gift of salvation, but the greatest blessing this life can offer when we can say with Paul, “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” (Galatians 2:20).
Quotes are from New International Version.