She had been a faithful and loyal church member for more than sixty years, volunteering for various committees and programs, and attempting to fulfill everything the pastor advocated in order to “be like Jesus.” Suddenly, unexpectedly, she could cope no more, and she suffered a debilitating nervous breakdown. In the midst of her depression and despair, she cried out, “I would rather die, than keep on trying to be a ‘good Christian,’ or keep trying to ‘be like Jesus’!” Such an expression of religious “burn-out” has been voiced by innumerable people who have “come to the end of themselves” in their religious efforts.
Religious people are often aghast when they hear one of their own voice such a cry of defeat, but rather than admit their own frustration and inability, they often keep on committing themselves to increased fervor in their attempts to please God. God, on the other hand, is undoubtedly pleased when He hears such honest admission of inability and willingness to die. He has been waiting all along for His people to recognize that death is the prerequisite and precursor to life as He intends. Writing to the Roman Christians, Paul explained, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die” (Rom. 8:13), “conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ” (that occurred when He died on the cross in our place – as us – on Calvary hill); it is no longer I who lives (the Christian life, attempting to “be like Jesus”) but Christ lives in me (for only He can live the Christ-life as His Spirit indwells our human spirit (Rom. 8:9,16), and manifests His life (II Cor. 4:10,11) in our behavior); and the life I now live (as a Christian, a Christ-one) I live by faith (chosen receptivity of His activity) in the Son of God (JESUS) who loved me and gave Himself for me (in His redemptive offering and the continuing restorative dynamic of His life).”
~ Jim Fowler
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