Did Paul say, “I’m determined to imitate Christ?”, or, “I will work at following Him?”
No, he said, “I been crucified with Christ. I have been identified with him in His death.”
Elvis impersonators are quite happy to look like him and get all the glory and accolades and don’t usually kill themselves as the original Elvis did (through drug abuse). Paul didn’t want to be a mere impersonator of Christ (not of Elvis of course). Paul wanted to go all the way to death, but death to self …denial of self…and identify with Christ’s death.
How do you identify with His death and why?
It’s not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up control, our natural independence and self-assertiveness in order to experience true victory! This is how the battle is fought… taking up your cross and following Jesus…
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“
Galatians 5:24 (NIV)
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.“
Mark 8:34 (ESV)
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
You have to realize who Jesus Christ truly is before surrendering to Him. He is your victor, your rescuer. Victory is found in Him alone and not in your natural good intentions.
Do you think too highly of yourself?
Be ready for a fall.
Think nothing of yourself?
You’re ready for renewal and victory in Jesus!
Paul identified with Christ and went to the funeral of his ego and own ‘good’ intentions.
Now he’s dancing at the wedding! …In heaven where the groom (Christ) meets His bride (the people of God, the church, and Paul is one…) wearing robes of white! …Perfect union between God and His people as He had intended. Get the party invite! This is how…
Take up your cross.
Get alone with God and pray, “Lord, send your Holy Spirit to search me so that I know my sin and understand that your death on the cross meant death of my sin. I want to identify with your death in order to receive true victory! Dead to sin, alive in Christ! I want to surrender to your power, and surrender my selfish attempt at control. I give you full control to clean my heart, my mind, my will …for my sake …and for your glory!”
Then claim this victory…
Psalm 103:12 (CEV)
“How far has the Lord taken
our sins from us?
Farther than the distance
from east to west!”
(Thoughts after reading Oswald Chambers, The Relinquished Life. But Elvis was before his time of course.)