“I have been crucified with Christ”.
Gal 2:20 NIV
The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book about Christianity called “The Cost of Discipleship”. Published in 1937, it contained this sentence, “When Jesus Christ calls a person, he bids you come and die”. Bonhoeffer was leading a movement known as the “Confessing Church” which was in open conflict with the “German Christian” movement in which Hitler demanded that German Christians should be Germans first and Christians second. Hitler compelled all Christian ministers to take an oath of allegiance to him personally. Bonhoeffer refused and discovered just what the cost of discipleship was. He was hanged by the Nazi regime in 1945, just two weeks before the American army liberated the prison where he was being held. He was 39 years old.
Being crucified with Christ can mean a number of things. For the apostle Paul it meant crucifying his old self and way of life in which he sought to conform to the Jewish law and commandments. For him this was a massive wrench. It meant leaving behind the culture in which he had grown up and forsaking his position of leadership in the Jewish church. It meant renouncing his involvement in the covenant God had made with Abraham and all the subsequent generations of Jewish people. It also meant putting his faith in Christ and Christ alone for his standing with God the Father. And then it involved going out and telling the whole world about Jesus.
You too need to be crucified with Christ. It might not lead to death, as with Bonhoeffer, or to a life of sacrificial and prophetic ministry as with Paul. But it does mean denying yourself, putting Christ first and taking whatever consequences arise.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, I want to live for you, and you alone.
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