Summary: A dead man isn’t interested in the things of this world.
Someone once said there are two kinds of people who work with electricity: One is an electrician and another is a fool. Someone else said the last words of a redneck are, “Hey, watch what happens when I plug this in!”
I’m not an electrician, but I know slightly more than the average person, because when we were building our first home in Alabama in 1981, we put a lot of sweat equity into it. Under the guidance of an electrician in our church, I pulled all the wires for the house and installed all the electrical boxes and light switches.
Most houses are wired for both 110 volts and 220 volts. Your small appliances, lights, and electronics run on 110 volts. But larger units like your air conditioner, stove, and clothes dryer are wired for 220 volts. They produce more energy, so they need more power.
The plugs look different, so you can’t accidentally plug a 110 appliance into a 220 outlet. But if you could, it would burn up in a second.
Many international hotels are wired for 220, but the plugs may look the same. I remember the first time I plugged a 110 hairdryer into a 220 outlet. It ran on super speed for a few seconds—wheeeeeeeeee—like a turbo-charged hair dryer. Then it started smoking, and it died. Fried forever. On the other hand, if you could plug your 220 stove into a 110 outlet, you would only get one-quarter the output. It would be weak and underpowered; your food would never cook.
There’s a spiritual parable in there for us. A person who tries to live the Christian life by his or her own strength is either like that burned-out hairdryer, or the underpowered stove. They surge ahead at a frantic pace for a short burst, and then they burn out. Or they just suffer from a lack of power and never achieve God’s intended purpose.
God has wired us for 220: Galatians 2:20. This single verse, which is my life verse, contains the dynamic secret for living the Christian life. Here’s God’s Life-Changing 220 Principle: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Christopher Columbus didn’t INVENT America, he merely discovered it. It was here all along and he just ran into it on his way to India. In my experience, the Christian life is full of wonderful discoveries, too. First, I discovered there was a God who created the universe. Then I discovered this same God loves me so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for my sins. Then I discovered if I put my trust in Jesus, all my sins could be forgiven and I would have an eternal home in heaven. Those are pretty amazing discoveries!
But then, when I was in college I discovered the Christian life is not ME trying to imitate Jesus, but that Jesus lives in me and wants to live His life through me. One of the most brilliant Christian minds of the 20th century understood this truth. C.S. Lewis wrote: “When Christians say Christ is in them, they do not mean simply something mental or moral. This is not simply a way of saying that they are thinking about Christ or copying Him. They mean that Christ is actually operating through them.” (Mere Christianity, p. 64.)
Over the next few minutes, I want to dissect this amazing verse and share with you how to apply it to your life. We’re going to talk about the executed life, the exchanged life, and the energized life.
1. “I have been crucified with Christ.” THE EXECUTED LIFE
Two friends were talking and one said, “Have you seen Sam lately? I’ve been looking high and low for him.” The friend said, “Well, those are the only two places to look, because Sam died last month.”
Paul wrote that in Christ, we died. We didn’t die physically; we died to self and sin. We have sanitized the cross into a religious symbol. But it was and always will be a mode of execution. It was the lethal injection during the time Paul wrote this. The cross of Christ was a double-cross. First, Jesus was crucified for our sins, and we were crucified with Him. Paul used a past tense verb. He didn’t say, “I will be crucified, or I am being crucified.” It was something that has already happened. At a murder scene, detectives try to determine the time of death. Paul says our time of death was 2,000 years ago with Christ on the cross. This is not self-crucifixion. It’s not a picture of us climbing onto the cross every morning. It’s something that has already happened, and we just need to accept it.