1 Jan 2001

The crucified life?

Submitted by theshovel
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I sometimes find myself a little weary of being on the computer ... and this past weekend was such a time. Heck, the past few weeks have been such a time. I answered a few emails and just broke away for a bit. I spend a lot of time with my grandson and watched a video or two and on Sunday had a few people over during the day.

Some believers don't believe in crucified self as a reality. I have found it to be true. What are your thoughts on this? anonymous

Well, considering the fact that we have already been crucified with Christ and have been raised with Him, our experiences as believers will definitely reflect that reality. As Paul wrote,

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death Philippians 3:9

Back at Bible College in 1975, I was asked what Bible verse I wanted next to my Senior Class picture in the yearbook. I chose the above verse. I really don't know why I picked that one. Maybe I thought it sounded "spiritual". :) Maybe the Father let me trip into it. One way or another it began to impact my life. Within the next few years I was depressing many of my fellow believers as I shared openly with them that our whole perception of "growing" in Christ was bogus. :) I can remember watching the faces of the 5 young guys one night at the Bible study in our apartment when I told them what it was that I was praying for them ... and that it was NOT for things to go well for them, but that they would experience this fellowship of His sufferings. They couldn't believe I was telling them this. What had I gone through at that time? Not a lot, but it had been enough for that time of my life. I had gone to a "soul-winning" Bible College and the Father had been faithful in my life to squash EVERY concept that I was the "witness" that I had been trained to be. It just didn't work for me ... and I tried!

Like I say, I could easily look back and think, "Big deal ... that's not any kind of fellowship of His sufferings!" But it was to me. It was difficult to realize that I just didn't measure up to the "successful" Bible College grads, but in coming to accept my lack and in sharing it as the working of God put me out there on display before my contemporaries. Rejection began to abound from all sides (as I was still involved in a "satellite" church from the college). Though I moved on from there it has not ceased to this day. If you met me you would probably describe me as a very happy, positive person.

A few years ago (5 or 6), the pastor of the small church we met for about three years had criticized me during an elders' meeting as being "up" way too much. haha! I was not one of the elders ... I was sitting in the "hot seat" getting grilled by them at the time (I had asked about being able to teach there some time). He figured that something had to be terribly wrong with a guy who was going through so much crap in his life to be able to be cheerful. Oh, how we love to cover our faces in ashes, huh? :) If you want to hear details I'm sure I could give you some, but I'll tell you this much: some of them assumed that what was going on in my life and in my family was God's judgment on me for hidden sins. They had me under the microscope, alright. And you know if you look hard enough you can always find something. They found what they wanted to and decided that I was a bad testimony to even say anything when I was up front with the "Praise Band" on Sunday AM's. You want to know what I have found that allows me to "relate" with people? Sharing life from the everyday situations. The good news of Jesus is not powerful because it makes sense, it is powerful because it is true life - even though everything around us screams to the contrary. My weaknesses really are my strength, because it is there that I see the impossible happen! I am constantly blown away by the miraculous. I wrote these song lyrics about 5 years ago:


My feet can't settle in this place, the ground keeps shifting with each step

Fatal sinkholes leave no trace, desire to catch me in their trap

My eyes grow tired from the strain, for what I see, I can't believe

My ears grow weary once again, the things they hear seek to deceive

Though I see that many walk as if this was their home . . . I don't belong


Don't wanna be here any more, don't wanna leave before my time

Which do I choose, which am I for? The conflict grows within my mind

Born from outside of this earth, I walk this alien terrain

hen I forget my place of birth . . . I'm temporarily insane

Though I see that many walk as if this was their home . . . I don't belong


For me, I didn't need to fall off the "deep end" and need to be admitted to an insane asylum to experience Christ (though many thought I had :). I have pretty much kept an even keel throughout my years, but I have become more "alive" in the process - emotionally and mentally. I love to truly feel. Take a look at the world around you - it's filled with insane people that get around quite well without drugs or alcohol or physical restraints. Insanity is a perception, it's a mindset, it's an attitude, it is the game we have learned to play. When our world falls apart, the guy who ends up in a mental institution is no more nor less destroyed, in reality. I have watched and lived with those who have "lost it" and have discovered my own insanity through it. I don't HAVE to go through what somebody else does, for I have my own story and experiences ... and my experience includes the experience of what I share with others. To feel somebody else's pain is not the same as what they are feeling, but it is a pain nonetheless. And it plays a part of me. Oh, well, I have probably put you to sleep. You can wake up now. ;) Jim

I have no doubt of your painful experience, though I think you are applying a rather broad definition when you call it being "crucified". If we were to witness a true crucifixion we might think twice before making the comparisons. I say "we" because the word has been used in many different ways in my life time. Once again, I don't say this to criticize what you went through ... or to doubt that God was tightening the screws on your heart and soul.

Some He gives it to slow and easy over a period of time and others He hits with a full dose of life and pain and then opens their eyes.

Hahaha! How about those who get hit with "a full dose" over a period of time? :) As far as "sanctification" goes I've seen it used in the Bible both as having been accomplished AND as something that continues. Either way it is used it is always the work of God through Christ. I also enjoy communicating with you. Jim

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