Study 14: Who’s in charge of your life?
Can you dare to say you’re free?
Jesus died for you – so that He could give His life to you.
Jesus died for you – so that he could live through you.
“It’s not I who live, but Christ who now lives in me”. (Galatians 2:20)
He knows we cannot possibly live as a Christian on our own – it’s impossible. The “law” (the Old Testament rules and regulations) shows us that. (See Hebrews 7:18-19.) We can’t do it without Jesus. Trying to keep all the commandments isn’t good enough, because God tells us (James 2:10), that if we have broken just one of the commandments, we have broken them all. No, we cannot be a Christian by trying to be good, doing the right things and looking the part (whatever that is!) We really have no hope without realising that Jesus wants to live now, in just the same way He did two thousand years ago, but this time using our bodies to live through.
How simple life becomes. We no longer have to strive to do what we think we should. We cannot – not for long anyway. Many Christians have “burned out” by trying to do the right things. Have you ever tried to read the Bible because you thought you should? Have you ever tried to pray for an hour a day because you were told to? Sometimes, we may last a month or two! But there is no freedom in that; no life in doing the “acts” out of obligation.
There is no other way to have life – abundant life – without Christ living in us, then through us. Nothing else lasts.
We can obviously keep up routines for a certain length of time but, sooner or later, we fail. Then what? We feel that we have let God down and we try again. We go to the front at the church altar-call, to re-commit ourselves to try harder next time. The pattern is a circular one, and never ends.
There is a great lifting of responsibility once we begin to realise that WE can do nothing of ourselves. God doesn’t expect us to be right with Him on our own. He knows we cannot do that! It is precisely why Jesus died. So that now, it is not me that lives, but Christ in me. After all, He created us to need Him and to need a relationship with Him. That is the reason why, without His life living in us, we will always be searching for Him.
We will try to find Him in various places: through drinking partners that camouflage loneliness, through obsessive relationships that hide a deep-seated rejection, through gang or cult membership showing a deep need for acceptance. Yes, we can look for Him in these places, but until we come to understand personally, that, “He loves a wretch like me; He died for me; and actually wants to live His life through me” – we will still be searching.
We are free to do anything we want. We are even free to live a fleshly existence if we want to – although if we have Christ living in us, why would we want to?
Freedom is something that cannot be explained in words if we have never experienced it. It’s like standing at the front of a huge ship, seeing nothing to trap or bind us – just water and sky, feeling the wind in our face and blowing through our hair. A feeling inside us, of excitement and “joy unspeakable and full of glory” as we shout out, or laugh or cry. All the while, we know Who is with us as we laugh and soar with our friend Jesus. 1 Peter 1:8: “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage and freedom).” (See also 2 Corinthians 3:17 and Isaiah 61:1-2).
Freedom for us is why Jesus died. Why would we not want that? There is nothing we can do – it’s already been done.
Do you still need to be free?
The heart of Christianity is Christ living in us. The whole Christian life is Jesus. It is the message of His resurrection: He is alive! We can now understand how to live – because He’s alive. He didn’t come to give us teachings or principles or concepts of life. He came to give us Himself.
Jesus wants to give us this wonderful, joyous freedom – this abundant life – now. He is standing at the door of our heart with an armful of gifts that He has died to be able to give us. They are for everyone. Why not open the door in the wall you have put around you heart, and receive it all? He won’t want you to be bound or shackled to any rules, principles or regulations to try to please God. (This is actually the definition of ‘religion’ in Webster’s dictionary.) That is not the freedom He wants for us.
Christ is all – everything.
This means the total and complete end of all struggle to be a “good Christian”. If Christ is our life, there is no struggle. It’s only because we now have His life living through us that we have the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Nothing else will do. There is no other way to be free.
We can hear God for ourselves
He speaks to us in a loving, kind way and has a still, small voice that almost sounds like our thought or idea. (See 1 Kings 11-12.) You see, we are one. He is in us, so He sounds like we do! We trust that voice more and more as our relationship together deepens. We can hear His voice above a million of others. “My sheep know My voice, I know them and they follow Me… no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28).
He loves us.
He knows our faults and our weaknesses. He knows when we run and when we stay. He knows when we laugh and when we cry. We can trust Him with our life.
We can have confidence in Him –
We can rely on Him –
We can believe Him –
He loves us.
14: Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1. In a sentence, sum-up what have you just read that was new for you?
2. Write out Galatians 2:20 in any version of the Bible.
3. What routines or rituals have you been trying to keep up?
4. According to Colossians 1:27, what is the mystery?
5. God wants the best for you according to scripture. Can you explain in a sentence WHY this should be?
6. Why do you now want to read the Bible?
7. Please share a time with us, when you broke free from legalism or religion.
8. If you can’t answer question 7, Why not?
9. Look up Matthew 11:28-30, and keep in mind that Jesus was speaking to religious leaders here. Can you now sum-up these scriptures in a sentence?
Answer the following question with True or False. If you have a scripture from the study please add this.