We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. ~II Corinthians 4:10, 11
What does the crucified life imply about ourselves? It seems clear that we have that nagging tendency to get in the way, so to speak. In other words, the reality of Christ’s cross, in our lives, is that we are put to death with Him, as He vicariously puts us to death at the cross of Calvary. It hurts the ego to die, doesn’t it? Isn’t this the struggle Paul talks about in Galatians 5:17? Our sin nature, the one that dies daily, is constantly desiring to pop its ugly head up against the beautiful face of Christ.
I would suggest (I say to self) to go with the pain and hurt of death, and walk in the security and comfort that the LIFE of Christ provides for each of us reconciled to Him. Interestingly all we can do is start with knowledge of Christ, first, in order to come to the point that we truly are able to see ourselves as we are in ourselves . . . dead and ugly. BUT this is okay, our life and “esteem” are rooted in Christ, not ourselves. It is okay, contrary to popular preaching, to talk about how filthy and wretched we are; because we know that the super-abundant beauty and life of Christ is now genuinely our life. In fact I would venture to say that those who would shrink away from seeing themselves as they truly are (dead and ugly), are starting with themselves, and attempting to reach Christ in their “own glory”. It is only when we see ourselves through Christ, both wretched and redeemed that it can be truly said that we have a Christ-centered gospel.
Remember Christ alone is supreme over both death and life (cf. Col. 1:13ff), the only way we can truly know Him is to recognize that within ourselves we cannot. We need to abandon ourselves and flee to Christ—of course when we do this we are truly admitting what the gospel has been saying all along—I CANNOT!