A call to be a Christian is not essentially a call to live for Christ, but rather a call to let Christ live in you and manifest Himself through you.
There is a great difference between striving to live for Christ and yielding yourself to Christ so that He may live in you and manifest Himself through you.
Sadly, many believers today are primarily concerned about living for Christ and not letting Christ live in them and manifest His life through them.
Their focus is on working for God and not on walking with God, on doing something for God and not on being who God has called them to be in Christ. They are always seeking and striving to do some works for Christ in order to earn His love, acceptance, favour, or blessing.
This is the primary cause of the frustration that many believers today are constantly experiencing in their lives and ministries!
It is undisputable that Apostle Paul laboured more for the spread of the gospel of Christ than all his contemporaries. God inspired Paul to write 13 books out of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Besides, Paul travelled extensively as a missionary, planting and establishing churches more than any other apostles of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (NKJV).
In spite of diverse and fierce trials, tribulations, oppositions and persecutions that Paul faced in this world, before he passed to glory, he boldly states that he has fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (NKJV).
Apparently, Paul lived a triumphant and fulfilled life!
Like Paul, every believer is called to live a triumphant and fulfilled life in this world.
How did Paul live a victorious, triumphant and fulfilled life in this hostile world?
His secret is found in Galatians 2:20!
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NKJV).
Let us carefully examine this scripture to discover and imbibe the spiritual truths that Paul knew which caused Him to triumph always and to fulfill his ministry while he lived in this fallen and evil world.
First, Paul saw his old sinful and corrupt self crucified with Christ:
Paul confidently states, “I am crucified with Christ…” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
Paul was fully convinced that his old self who had a sinful and selfish nature was put to death on the cross with Christ so that he might no longer be enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:6). Being crucified with Christ, Paul became dead to sin and thus free from the bondage of sin (Rom. 6:7, 11).
You cannot live a triumphant and fulfilled life like Paul if you don’t know, acknowledge, believe, internalize and walk in the spiritual truth that your sinful life and selfish nature has been crucified, terminated, or put to death with Christ on the cross.
You must know and believe that you are no longer a slave of sin. Your sin nature was destroyed or put off through the cross of Christ. You are now a new creation and you no longer have the corrupt sin nature you inherited from Adam. What you have now is the divine and holy nature of God. Therefore, sin is no longer your master!
Paul knew this truth and he wants you to know this truth, too.
6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (NKJV).
Second, Paul also saw his new self resurrected with Christ:
Paul boldly states, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live…” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
Paul saw himself united together with Christ both in the likeness of His death and also in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).
Paul did not just know, believe and walk in the spiritual truth that his old sinful and selfish man had been put to death; he also knew, believed and walked in the spiritual truth that he had become a new man or creation in Christ, thereby possessing God’s kind of life and nature.
Like Paul, you must see yourself as a new creation with God’s kind of life and nature for you to live a triumphant and fulfilled life in this hostile world. It is not enough to reckon yourself to be dead to sin, you must also reckon yourself to be alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
God wants you as a living sacrifice, not as a dead sacrifice, on His altar. There is nothing God can do with you as a dead sacrifice on His altar. If you present yourself as a living sacrifice to Christ, just as Paul did, Christ will work mightily in you and through you (Rom. 12:1).
Third, Paul allowed Christ to live in him and through him:
Paul states with all certainty, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal. 2:20 KJV).
Paul didn’t strive to live for Christ; he simply yielded or surrendered himself to Christ as a living sacrifice or vessel for Christ to manifest His life through him.
All the exploits that Paul did were simply the manifestations of Christ in Paul. Paul didn’t struggle to do anything for Christ; he only made himself available to Christ to do His work through him and manifest His life through him.
Paul’s earnest desire or primary goal was not “doing but being.” He did not pursue doing many works for Christ, but he only pursued knowing Christ and growing in intimacy with Christ. Paul clearly stated that he counted all things to be loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord (Philip. 3:8).
Paul revealed that his greatest pursuit or desire was “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philip. 3:10 NKJV).
Nevertheless, Paul accomplished more for Christ than his contemporaries. How?
Because his labour was according to the working of Christ in him!
He testifies to this truth.
29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (NKJV).
Like Paul, if you also set being a living sacrifice or a vessel for Christ above doing any work for Christ, you will eventually accomplish more for Christ because Christ will work in and through you mightily.
If you pursue intimacy with Christ rather than activities for Christ, Christ will manifest His life in and through you mightily.
Lastly, the secret of Paul’s victorious, triumphant and fulfilled life was that he lived by faith, not in himself or his righteous works, but in Christ and His finished redemptive work.
Paul states, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God…” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
All through his life, Paul never depended on himself for anything. He never approached God on the basis of his merit, self-righteousness, good works or performance.
All the exploits of Paul were done only by faith in the Son of God, not in his intellectual, education, natural wisdom, strength, skills, or resources.
Why did Paul surrender unreservedly to Christ to live in him and through him?
Because of his deep revelation of Christ’s love and sacrifice for his sins!
Paul was fully convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ loved him unconditionally, unreservedly, completely, constantly and infinitely.
If you ask Paul why he gave himself to Christ as a living sacrifice without any reservation, his response would be, Christ “loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
Paul’s unreserved surrender to Christ was the result of his deep and personal revelation of Christ’s love and sacrifice for him.
2 Corinthians 5:
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV).
The revelation of Christ’s love and sacrifice for your sins will deliver you from living a self-conscious, self-centred life and self-dependent life.
Beloved, it is as you increase in personal revelation knowledge of Christ’s love and sacrifice for you that you will become a living sacrifice or vessel unreservedly yielded to Christ, letting Christ live in you and manifest His life through you.
This is the major key to living a victorious, triumphant and fulfilled life in this present evil world.
Go for it!