Several years ago, a major credit card company had a slogan: “Membership has its privileges.” Well, being a Christian may as well carry the same motto. Christians are part of something unique. We are those whom God chose before the foundations of the world were set in place to belong to Himself (Ephesians 1:4-6). What makes this even more miraculous is that God chose people who did not want or love Him. We were His enemies. Many of us were really despicable people, involved in all kinds of awful sin (Romans 5:6-8). Further on in Romans, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says this,
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.Romans 5:18-19 (NASB)
By His marvelous gift of grace, God changed me and everyone else who calls upon the name of Jesus for salvation (Acts 4:12). The life I live I now live for Christ (Galatians 2:20), and this means I must conduct myself differently than before my salvation. In other words, I give a lot of thought to how I behave like a Christian. I desire to live so that others will want to know Christ because of what they see in me.
There are times I am successful at this; however, even after more than three decades of walking with Christ, my actions and attitudes still grieve me at times. I get too independent in my thinking, and before long, I stray from the goal of living life to glorify God and begin to live my life indulging my own thoughts, beliefs, and desires. My heart is so deceitful and still so full of self. I still have all these wants and desires that will lure me away from Him. When my heart/mind does the “Yeah but is wanting (fill in the blank) so bad?” thing, I know it is the same as when the serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say…?” What is most important to me is having my way rather than living for Him. That’s when I start feeding my wants instead of thinking about how what I say and do or don’t say or do will impact people for or against Christ. “I” becomes all-important and all-consuming. When I worship myself in this way, my entire perspective on everything changes! It is incredible how easily I can begin to display the rotten fruit of anger, impatience, and pride. God is so good to give me a limited view of my own depravity, because frankly, that is all I can handle! Oh, how clearly I can see this today! I wish I could always see it this way.
I pray God will help me to keep my heart fixed on Him. It is so easy to slide back into that selfish and self-centered mindset! Scripture says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me (Galatians 2:20). This crucifixion of the old nature demands that I no longer live for myself. Being crucified with Christ says that I have died to all the worldly passions and desires (Galatians 5:24) and means that those things are literally dead to me. You and I, we cannot indulge our flesh any longer. We have been bought at an incredible price. Others may live for themselves…we cannot.