Not I, but Christ in me

I have been put to death on the cross with Christ; still I am living; no longer I, but Christ is living in me; and that life which I now am living in the flesh I am living by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who in love for me, gave himself up for me.

Gal 2:20

For a long time I was more than frustrated that I had to die and Jesus would live instead of me. The reasons were manifold. For one, I thought that it was pure wastefulness to create me and then expect me to wither away and become a copy of Jesus. You are right, I drip with humility, don’t I. But think of it for a moment. Why would God create you and me differently if he only wanted us to become like Jesus, or even to become Jesus.

So maybe God did not create us different from each other. Maybe we were supposed to be all equal, and the fall had us pursue different paths of life, depending on our egotistical appetites and drives.

That is drivel. Want proof?

First, look into nature. God is a creative God that created thousands of variants of the same thing – take flowers, insects, snowflakes, what ever you like.

But then, I look at those things from a post-fall perspective. Maybe they changed too? In that case, either God changed them, and again he is the creator of diversity, or the devil did. In that case, the bible lies. It calls the devil a copy cat with no creative power.

And then God tells us that we are wonderfully and fearfully made. Unique is the best translation for the word used for wonderfully. God made me unique.

And again God tells us that each of us has different gifts and callings. For example when he asks whether we are all apostles or all prophets, and the clear answer is no.

Jesus even shows us that we have different paths of life when he tells Peter not to worry about the fate of John, even if John were not to die until Jesus came back. In the same discourse  he tells Peter that Peter was going to die for him.

Ok, the first attempt of an explanation was absurd, I now know.

But still: why am I to die and Jesus live instead of me in me?

Maybe I was reading the whole thing the wrong way.

And then it hit me. It did not say that Jesus now lived in me. It said that Christ lived in me. Christ is not Jesus’ last name, it stands for the anointing. Jesus Christ, Jesus, the anointed one, the messiah.

And another thing stood out – and this is easier to see in English than German, since the I in English is capitalized. Maybe it was all about the I versus the anointing. What do I mean by that? It is the”I” as in  “I want” against the flow of oil from the throne. It is about his anointing, his empowerment, his protection, his ability, his life in exchange for my ego, my solitude, my wanting to do it my way.

Listen to how the Message bible puts it:

When the Messiah was executed on the stake as a criminal, I was too; so that my proud ego no longer lives. But the Messiah lives in me, and the life I now live in my body I live by the same trusting faithfulness that the Son of God had, who loved me and gave himself up for me.

Gal 2:20

I do not have to give up my self. The parts of my self that are egotistical and egocentric died on the cross. Of course they are quite sticky memories and try to speak up every now and then, but this verse tells me they died with Jesus on the cross. And Jesus poured his anointing into me to heal the wounds, fill up the space, and anoint the Godly parts of me that remained as a new creation after God’s plan.

And now I can marvel at my being different not because I am better or just different for the sake of being different. I can marvel at the creativity of God, how he made us different for a purpose. We are co-dependent, complementing each other, to fulfill God’s purpose. Eternal relationships, fellowship, community, creativity.

How dull and boring would eternity be if we were all identical. How dull and boring would life be right now if we were able to do it all by ourselves. Cherish diversity. But not for diversity’s sake.

And what does that do to me?

I want to be the best me I can be, living from, dripping with the anointing of God.

I cherish me, the real me, the one I was supposed to be all along. Unique. Fearfully and wonderfully made. And I cherish my creator.

And you?