The Secret to Living the Christian Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 19, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Is there really a secret to living the Christian life? A sacred formula that makes it work? Something that we have to go search out in order to see it in action? Yes. This a hidden ingredient to Christianity that makes it all work that many, many who call themselves Christians do not know about. I would almost go as far as saying without this ingredient, you should be cautious about even calling yourself a Christian. The very interesting thing about this ingredient is that it has been in plain sight the whole time. It is there for all to see. The problem is that many don’t want anything to do with it. They know what it is and they want to see if they can “eat” Christianity without this ever so important ingredient.

What is this secret ingredient? It is actually something I have been writing about the previous six weeks, and I will need to two posts to cover it. This is something I have known for most of my Christian life. I have listened to songs about it, read Scriptures about it, preached about it, written about it, and listened to sermons about it; but I did not really get it. Earlier this year, I wrote about the difference between intellectual Christianity and actual Christianity and this ingredient is the epitome of that issue. I knew where I needed to get to. I knew what the Bible said about it, but I did not know how to get there. I refuse to settle for less and if it takes forever to get there, I will still keep pushing to go that direction. Leading up to Easter weekend and Resurrection Sunday, God turned the light on and I finally saw why I did not have the means of getting to this level of Christianity I admired and sought. Please keep in mind that reaching that level does not end my journey, but simply prepares me to go even deeper to another level. There never will be a time when I fully “arrive” until the day God calls me home.

So again, what is this secret ingredient? It is the substance that makes us a Legendary Hero, not a Cowardly Hero. It is the substance that enables us to see beyond our natural eyes and fight for causes greater than ourselves. It is the substance that prevents us from gripping our own dreams and desires too tightly to allow for growth. It is the substance that kills the flab in our lives, and brings in God’s approval rather than asking for tolerance. It is the substance that enables God to make us what he wants to make us, rather than us telling God what we want him to make us into.

God began to show me how to start using this ingredient in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday. My youth pastor and pastor preached two powerful messages that grabbed my attention. They preached on the cross, and this is what turned the lightbulb on. This ingredient will not work instantly in most cases, and it requires use over time before effects are usually seen. I have begun to put this ingredient into my life and I have started to see some improvements. It has not worked its full effect yet, and in order for it to work, I have to keep using it.

We have all heard about what Jesus did on the cross. He took our place and died so that we would not have to suffer the wrath of God. He made a way for us to be reunited in our relationship with the Father. Because of his death, our sins are covered and we are freed from the bondage to sin. Curses are broken and our enemies are defeated because of the work done on the cross. However, this work is missing one key ingredient for it to be applied in our lives. This secret ingredient is: WE must get on that cross.

“Wait! Wait! Wait! Did you just say Jesus died so we do not have to?” Yes, I said that. But we still must get on the cross in order for the Christian life to work. While this is a message hardly stated by most pulpits, it is a message preached frequently by Paul.

Galatians 2:20 states, “For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.”

Romans 7:1-6 describes how in sin, we are bound legally to the law of sin and death as one is bound in marriage. The only way God authorizes a marriage to be broken is through death and Paul played on that. Only by dying to self and to the old self can we be freed from the law of sin and death and be re-born into a new marriage of the new covenant. Romans 6 is about the need to die to self, the second half of Romans 7 is about the conflict between the old self and the new self, and Romans 8 is about the victory found in Christ Jesus.

The secret ingredient to Christian living is when we get out of the way and we die to ourselves. The selfish flesh is the greatest hindrance to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, and it must be removed. Jesus’ death is to free us from self, but we will not be free unless self is dead. We are not our own; we are bought with a price. As Christians, we no longer rule our own lives as we did before Christ.

Here is the problem many of us have and why we struggle so much with different sins: We often read a post or hear a sermon about this topic, and we readily immediately respond and offer ourselves anew to Christ. We put ourselves on that cross to die in Christ, but a few days, weeks, or months later, self keeps calling and because we are not putting it to death, we take it down from the cross. Self often appeals to our “good nature” so we don’t kill it and let it stick around. It will promise to be good and only come around on occasion. It promises to behave as long as we toss it a bone or two, but then one day, it will throw a coup and claim the throne of our lives that it once had. If we want to see victory in our lives, we need to put self on the cross, keep it on the cross, and stop taking it back down.

Paul Washer stated that the most dangerous prayer any person could pray is, “Lord, make me like Jesus.” We love saying that prayer, but we really don’t want to be like Jesus. Jesus lived wholly and completely devoid of self. He did not allow moment for self, a though for self, an action for self, rest for self, a meal for self, absolutely nothing for self. Everything about him was only about his Father’s will. The closest Jesus ever got to considering self was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and even then he submitted his will, his mind, and his body to what needed to be done on that cross. Next week, I am going to share with you perhaps the most practical and applicable post I have written for Worldview Warriors to date. I am going to share how I have been putting this principal of death to self into practice.

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