DayBreaks for 8/28/14 – It Is Not I
Galatians 2:20 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
It is said that St. Augustine was accosted one day on the street by a former mistress sometime after he had become a Christian. When he saw her he turned and walked the other way. Surprised, the woman called out, “Augustine, it is I”. Augustine as he kept going the other way, answered her, “Yes, but it is not I.”
It is an amusing story in a way, I suppose, yet also sobering – one that comes close to making the same point the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer made when he wrote “When Christ calls a man to follow him, he calls him to die.”
I don’t like the idea of dying. Our flesh and fleshly spirit fight against it. Yet we are all called to die if we choose to live, to lose our life in order to find it, to take up our cross and follow him. And where does that following of Christ lead us? Paul put it well in the passage above: My old self has been crucified with Christ.
We might be tempted to take up the cross and follow Jesus, much like Simon the Cyrene who was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. But when it comes to the place of crucifixion, we’re happy to let Jesus get up on the cross rather than being nailed to it ourselves. Paul shows us what carrying the cross really means: it means being crucified with Him, not skipping out on the nails and dying that must take place.
Augustine got to the core of it, too. I’m still struggling to get there.
PRAYER: I know, Jesus, that the invitation to take up the cross and follow you is that it is my own cross that I’m to bear and that the journey will lead to the death of my fleshly nature so that I can take on Your nature. Still it is hard, Lord! Help! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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