20 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. (NIV)
My life is not my own.
That is a strange statement to make in our society that values the individual above the communal. We live in a culture that proclaims that everything must be focused upon our life and we are to make the most of our time on this planet. To have the “good life” means to live for ourselves, to not let anyone get in our way, and to make sure that everything we want is provided for.
But, my life is not my own.
It is odd. We are not comfortable with these words. We’re not comfortable with this truth. We don’t want to address these words from Paul, even in the life of the church. We want to teach that as long as you are happy and pleased then it means that God is happy and pleased with you. We want to preach a gospel that says happiness and self-fulfillment is the key to holiness and sanctification.
But, the truth of the matter is this: My life is not my own.
I say this, because my life, our lives, have been redeemed by something greater than ourselves. Our lives have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. That gift of salvation redefines our lives and calls us to a life that goes beyond the expectations of this world. The fact that we are God’s and our willingness to live by our Lord’s desires calls us to a way of sacrificial living that is more concerned with others than it is about our own desires.
That is because my life is not my own.
If our lives are not our own then, hopefully, it will call to mind the more difficult path of following Christ in how we live. We must see ourselves as servants of the Risen Lord. This fact should inspire within us a desire to be witnesses of peace, justice, hope, love, grace, joy, and humility in a world that is so often filled with violence, injustice, fear, hatred, resentment, anger, and pride. If our lives are not our own then, perhaps, it will call us to use what God has blessed us with – our gifts and talents – to be change agents in the world who are focused on “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
My life is not my own. Your life is not your own. Our lives belong to Christ. We have been blessed with gifts and talents to be used in service to the Lord and to each other. How will you use your gifts, today, in service and ministry to bless the Lord and serve others? How will you live into the fact that your life is not your own?