Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (From the NKJV)
These words, popularized in song by Steve Green and Phillips, Craig, and Dean, are a lovely, easy way to memorize Scripture. I have sung these songs and believed I knew what I was singing.
That all changed with the dream.
I found myself in an auditorium standing in a line. Those ahead of me seemed to be in an excited state of anticipation. Just ahead of me was an elder bachelor friend whom I always regarded as a very dedicated servant of Christ. He greeted me and we talked until he took his place at the head of the line.
As he went forward, I saw the object of this great excitement. In horror, I watched as my friend lay down upon a crude wooden cross and allowed himself to be crucified. I immediately stepped out of the line, fearing the pain of what would be done to me.
I watched with sorrow as each person in the line took their turn on the cross, but soon my sadness turned to wonder. The people who had been 'crucified' were not writhing in agony but rejoicing in ecstatic adoration. They did not die, but lived.
To my shame, I realized that in choosing temporary freedom from pain, I had also chosen to give up the abundant joy and life they were experiencing. I longed to be able to swallow my fear and be in the number who had received this gift.
When I awoke from this dream, I pondered its meaning. The words from Galatians came to me, and I thought about the meaning of being crucified with Christ. I had ‘accepted’ Christ years ago. Why then had I been unwilling to endure the cross?
The answer lies in the nature of what I, as a Christian saved by the blood of the Lamb, am asked to do in response to God’s gift of salvation.. To be of service, I must be willing to surrender every aspect of my life to Him.
Too many times, I have said, “Here, Lord, You can take over this part of my life because I really need Your help. I made a mess of it,” and then followed that submission with, “I’m sorry, Lord, but that other part of my life is just too precious to me to surrender to You. You might not allow me to have it anymore.”
Abraham knew the pain of this type of sacrifice when he was told he must take Isaac to be sacrificed on the mountain. Would I be obedient like Abraham if asked to give up something equally precious?
Sometimes I think I would, but many more times I know in my heart I would not.
What does Galatians 2:20 mean to my walk with the Master today? What must I give to Him, not looking back?
I pray I will be able to submit to ‘crucifixion’ today and every day and surrender all to Him.