Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. Have you ever moved to a new country? Not just being there or visited as a tourist, but actually located, relocated there. It’s a pretty difficult task. We call it culture shock. It is different. You are like the foreigner. You can’t communicate well. You’re not understood well. The most difficult thing about moving to a new country is to start again.
Beginning from scratch, point zero, into a new normal, which is going to get and take a while to get used to. That is the dominant metaphor of this series on Galatians chapter 2 verse 20. Preceding this unbelievable verse, which is the secret of the spiritual life, the Apostle Peter was struggling. Yes he was in a new country. But he was trying to live in the old way in a new country, living with old allegiances and old appearances.
And the Apostle Paul, said “No that’s not the way to live. It’s going to kill you.” I tried to live that way, even living in the old country was not enough. He said in verse 19 of Galatians 2, “For through the law I died to the law,” that’s over, “So that I might now live to God,” in a new way, in a new zone. You can’t live like that, Peter, because there are only two options. You have your old option and a new option. The old state was the law state. The new state is the faith state.
A state is a political boundary with an established government with authority over both internal affairs and external foreign policy. It is a new government. It’s a different principle, new politics, new economics, new culture. You cannot live in the new state with the old state. It’s a new politics. And spiritually speaking as a new government, Christ is in control, not self. Is new economics. Christ is our resource, not we ourselves.
It’s a new culture, new practices, new patterns not the approach of works to gain merit with God and recognition. Because in the old self you had to live by yourself. It was a self powered egocentric way of living. Transactional, short term, breeding fear and insecurity, never a good enough strategy. You tried to get the most that you can, win a little bit here or there but rarely your fault. For a long term relationship you’re living by yourself to God. Meeting the demands of the law, and meeting the demands of your ego. Sister, you can’t live that way.
The story is told of a recent convert to Christ who after a pastor’s fine sermon sought him out for clarification. And he said, “Pastor, I’m not sure I’ve actually died to sin. But it makes me sick to my stomach on a regular basis.” For Peter, he didn’t die to the law. It made him sick on a regular basis internally. And Paul says, “Hey, move on. Move over.” Don’t be spiritually tense, but be free to serve. Move to a new state, not self powered but Christ powered. Not a self egocentric but a Christ God theocentric. Live in a relational way by faith in the Son of God, His faithfulness to you and your faithfulness to Him. Permanent. It’s born out of love. You can’t go back. Take a long term orientation and trust in dependence, because you can now live the crucified life.
You can now live the resurrected life, Christ living in you. You can live a transformed life. The former two Is, the capitalize Is, the prideful egotistical I, they’re gone. A new set of Is. These are the lower case. Personal Is, not prideful. The psychological Is through which you live because the old law working in me appealed to my flesh to use my performance as a standard, my own ability to meet God’s standards and revel in it and derive satisfaction.
And how high merited is recognition from my performance. Says no, it’s a new situation. Christ is working in me internally. It really appeals to my weakness. It acknowledges that I’m unable by my ability. But Christ living in me, it’s a new reality. I derive satisfaction not by my merit but by his work in me. I can be more consistent increasingly grow toward remembering my new sphere, a new state, and becoming more comfortable in it subjectively to what is true objectively.
I read an article called Me, Myself, and I in the New York Times. And the writer, she talks about why we capitalize the word I. There’s no grammatical reason for doing so, she says, because other languages don’t do that. There’s some languages you don’t even have the word or the personal pronoun. It’s just assumed. And she says maybe we should keep from self inflation. A good advice, because the first two Is were the inflated self.
The next two Is in Galatians 2:20 is the humble self, the dependent self. Say Galatians 2:20 with me. “I have been crucified with Christ. And it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.” But I also close with another, Me, Myself, and I, a poem written by a friend who calls himself the Birdbath poet. Listen carefully to these words. You’ll enjoy them.
Maybe listen to this poem a couple of times and maybe the whole series a couple of times. Me, Myself, and I. Listen to this. I lined up those three musketeers, me, myself, and I. Told them there was a funeral planned, informed them they must die. Me stood up and protested first proclaiming he more lives. Like a cat, he would love again. Declaring the funeral a lie. Ah, Myself and I quickly chimed in, “Wasn’t that a different way they would cooperate with Jesus keeping their wills at bay?” Their collective clamoring of continued strong, they desperately wanted to live.
I need to read that line again. Their collective clamoring continued strong, they desperately wanted to live. I pondered hard on my execution plan thinking their debts I could give. And I tried to kill them for many years and continually was at a loss until I realized the only way, Calgary’s lonely tree, the cross. So one day we went for a walk. The conniving me, myself, and I. I lead them to the cross of Christ and informed them they had died. For I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live. For Christ is living through me, the new life he promised and gives.
Oh I still hear them screaming from their caskets, the pesky me, myself, and I. But as long as I stay close to the cross, I will no longer live their lie. Four Is I I uppercase i i lowercase. Four words, Christ lives in me. Say it again. Christ lives in me. One more time. Christ lives in me. The secret of your welling is His indwelling. Thank you very much.