[We are] always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:10–11, ESV).
Why is Jesus alive? Pause to consider that question for a moment. Yes, He’s alive because He rose from the dead—but why? Yes, He’s alive because He is God—but why? Yes, He’s alive “because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24, NIV)—but why? What purpose does His present life serve?
Over and over the New Testament tells us Jesus is alive and active. He makes intercession for us, He comes before the throne of heaven as our mediator, and He makes requests before the Father for our moment-by-moment needs (Hebrews 7:25). Payment for sin is complete; that’s a past accomplishment (John 19:30). Someday Christ will rule the earth; that’s a future promise (Revelation 19:15). But what about today?
Today Christ lives to bring His victorious power to bear upon our character. Not only does He offer victory over sin and death and give forgiveness to all who believe, He also wants to live His life through us. That is what Christian living is all about—“that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
The true Christian life is Christ in you.
Christ has made no provision for you—on your own, in your own power—to live the Christian life. It’s a brand of living far superior to the Christ-in-my-own-strength program, which only leads to disappointment, exhaustion, and failure. He is the only one who ever lived it successfully. While you can seek knowledge and understanding, and you can serve, worship, and walk with Him, you have zero power or personal strength to resource true, full obedience. There’s nothing in you that can enable you to live for Him—not an ounce of strength, not a smidgen of willpower, not a thimbleful of perseverance to make Christian living possible.
The only source of power is the exchanged life—Christ living through you. Your part is to get out of the way and let Him. When you do and people see spiritual energy in you, whose is it? Not yours, but Christ’s. If people see anything worthwhile in your life, if there is anything eternal and lasting, it is the actual life of Jesus Christ flowing through you. He is the only true resource, the only power for lasting transformation.
This powerful, simple truth can absolutely change your life. Consider this a turning point, an invitation to the exchanged life—Christ living in you. It begins with honesty, admitting your sin and powerlessness to live for the Lord on your own. Because of His death, once you die to yourself, “the life of Jesus” can be manifest in you.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.