“The life you see me living is not mine”

Colossians 3:4 says Christ is our life. And fortunately for us he’s willing to be that for us, because he was the only human being who lived life the way it was meant to be lived. None of the rest of us even come close. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), meaning God designed a glorious, wonderful life for us, but we totally blew it.

So what God did for us was send his Son in human form to live that glorious human life himself. He lived the “glory of God” life we could have lived, but didn’t. Then, after Jesus returned to his Father, they sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to unite us with the resurrected human Christ so he could live the human life he’d just lived – all over again – in us. His human life could then become our human life. It would take time, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, but that was the plan, that “our lives (would) gradually become brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him” (The Message).

It meant, however, destroying the pathetic substitute of human life that we’d created by our efforts. That’s why Jesus united us with his death, first of all – to kill off that old life we lived, that fell so abysmally short of what it could’ve been. He crucified that useless existence for all humanity on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:14) so we can start afresh – this time with Christ living his gloriously perfect human life in us instead.

When Paul cottoned on to this, it did wonders for him, because in his words “(I’d been) working my head off to please God,” thinking it was totally up to him to live life as God meant it to be, Galatians 2:19. But he knew in his heart of hearts – and through bitter experience too – that it wasn’t working, because he too was “falling short.” Despite his best religious efforts, he could never get control of all his thoughts. He was determined to succeed, but, as the old saying goes, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.

What a relief for Paul, then, to discover he didn’t have to sweat buckets trying to live the way God designed him to live. Instead, the resurrected Christ was more than willing to live it in him, verse 20. And after going that route for a few years Paul was then able to make a remarkable announcement, that “The life you see me living is not mine,” meaning HE wasn’t the engine driving his life anymore, Christ was.


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