Where would I be without the new life that I get to live in Christ? It’s honestly hard to imagine.
I’ll be real, though. I think what saddens me the most about myself and other Christ followers is when we fail to step into the reality of our new future, new mercies, new grace, and new life in Christ every single day. Do you remember when He first transformed your heart? It was so fresh that it felt like your eyes had been opened for the first time. Everything felt new, looked new, and was full of new joy and life. But over time, after that initial life change took place, perhaps you began to lose that fiery passion and zeal that you once had. Maybe it returns at times, but you wish you could experience that first moment of salvation again.
Where it all went wrong for me—and I’ll tell you, what I’m about to say is very countercultural—is when I started to put the pressure of my “new future” and my calling onto myself. What if I don’t get this new future right? What if I don’t live out my calling? What if I commit my time to the wrong thing? What if I don’t serve enough? What if I take it for granted? I immediately made it about me. I moved on from the free gift of being made new and straight to prioritizing what I could do for God instead of prioritizing being with God.
After a lot of burnout, identity issues, striving, and proving, I realized that, unfortunately, I had gotten it all wrong. I think I loved the idea of being used by God more than I liked being with God.
And then it dawned on me. In my weakness and humanity, I had failed to see what the Scripture really said:
He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. 2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT
It’s His new life! It’s not even my life to be concerned about anymore. I’m not supposed to live for myself. I had been chasing “my calling,” but the greatest calling had already been set before me at the moment of salvation: choosing to die to my own life and pick up the life of Christ. It’s Christ in us that makes us new. It’s His life that we get to live from.
And man, did that take the pressure off! When we realize that we have to die to ourselves and our motives, wants, needs, thoughts, feelings, and desires every day, and pick up those of Jesus, we begin to see the world, ourselves, and others in a completely different way. We get to bring a little piece of heaven to earth in the real life that can only be found in Christ. And it’s all free!
God, forgive me for when I try to take up my old life instead of the life of Christ. Restore to me the joy and freedom that come with allowing Christ to live in me. Remind me daily to lay down my life and pick up the life of Christ, so that every morning is a chance to live out my new future. In Jesus’ name, amen!
—Life.Church Worship Pastor Stacey Tyler