Over the span of a year and two months I've been in Peru. To be honest I haven't enjoyed hardly any of it. Most of the time it's a chore and I can't count the number of times that I've wanted to return home. I can truly say that it's only by God's grace that I'm still here but surprisingly I can say that I'm glad that I haven't went back. I write to tell you that I now am understanding what Paul meant when he wrote Galatians 2:20 that says, "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." This verse has nothing to do with salvation from our sins but in fact a painful process that results in a beautiful thing. The Lord Jesus said that Paul would suffer much for the name of Christ, this is certain. He was flogged, beaten, ship wrecked and even stoned. He passed many nights without food, sleep or adequate clothing. Paul is a man who knew what it meant to suffer for the name of Christ and out of those sufferings and difficult times God imparted wisdom to him and something even more important, a personal and intimate relationship with his Savior, Jesus Christ.
So we come to this passage and the apostle Paul says, "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." Paul had learned the biggest struggle of every Christian, surrender. He had been beaten and bruised so many times that He learned to submit to the will of God. He could finally say I no longer live, Christ lives in me! This is to say that his will had been submitted to the will of Jesus and he could now say, not what I desire but what You desire, and in this way Paul died to himself and to his own desires. But what did he have to do to get to this point? Be put through God's school of hard knocks and learn little by little to die to self and submit to exactly what his Lord Jesus wanted of him and the result was amazing. Paul did miracles, healed, taught of Christ and led many into a personal relationship with Jesus.
You see, the truth is that we are all called to this level of surrender and commitment to our Lord. Our biggest struggle as people is giving up what we think to be ours. Our stuff, our cars, our house and most of all, our free will. We don't trust God! This is our great problem. We have one life to choose who we will serve and we only have two options, ourselves or our Lord and Commander Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Matthew 16:24-27, "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.'" Christ is our Commander and we are called to get in line, shut up and obey His orders. To finish I want to ask, Who do you serve?