In Luke 9:23, 24, Jesus stated
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the
one who will save it."
Jesus says the way to life is through death, and if anyone is to follow Him, they must deny self. What is this self that we are commanded to deny, and what is the life that must be lost in order to live?
God created man with certain essential, or basic, needs. Among them are the need to be loved and accepted and to have value and worth. The moment you are born, you are driven to get these needs met. The unique ways in which you try to meet your basic God-given needs for love, acceptance, value and worth is your "flesh." Your particular versions of flesh are the unique ways that you have lived by and depended on to meet your needs. Your flesh "patterns" were developed based on the messages that you received about yourself as you were growing up. These messages helped form your "identity." It is you trying to meet your needs independent of Christ with the only resources you have available to you: your mind, will, emotions and your physical body. The flesh is the primary thing that hinders us from knowing and experiencing the victorious Christian life. Living in the flesh is also known as the self-life.
Because we are all born in Adam, born without the life or God in our spirits and thus spiritually dead to God, we are forced to live out of our resources. As a result of dealing with the impossibility of getting our needs met, we are driven to make up for this deficiency. The desire to have our needs met is so great that it consumes our energy; we become solely focused on that longing. We become thoroughly and intensely self-centered in our quest for love, acceptance, value and significance.
The final result of being born spiritually dead is the loss of identity. We were created to have the life of God within us, (in our human spirit) yet are brought into the world without it. Therefore, our very reason for existence is not apparent to us. We are born in a condition of not knowing who we are, but being driven to find out.
There are only 2 kinds of inner life, Adam-life or Christ-life (Romans 5:14-19). All of us are born with Adam-life; a spirit without the life of God. It was the life of God that Adam lost in the garden. Therefore, our sins are not our only problem, but rather the dead spirit within. The blood of Christ washes away our sin, but it does not wash away the Adam-life. We are sinners because we are born spiritually dead, without the life of God that we were created to function from. It is a matter of birth, heredity, and parentage, not behavior that makes us sinners. We were born into sin and the only way out is to be born into another, to change our birth, to change our parentage. We came in by birth, we must go out by death and receive a new birth, a new spirit, one born of God. That is what the cross of Christ accomplishes.
Change of INNER LIFE …How can this inner life be changed? Our dead spirit is not to be patched up but put to death and exchanged for a new life. That inner dead spirit cannot be changed. It has been exchanged. Galatians 2:20 states, "I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 delivered Himself up for me." This rests not on the efforts of man, but solely on the undertaking of God. Exchanging the inner life makes you something different than you were before.
This is what happens when a person is born again; he receives the life of Christ. He is no longer the same type of human, possessing Adam-life, but is a child of God, acquiring the life of Christ, and thus a new creation, and one with a new identity.
Read Romans 6 to discover the spiritual realities of our co-crucifixion with Christ. Your Adam-life has been exchanged for life of Christ. This is the complete work of the cross. "Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are a new creation, something different! At this point we are not concerned about experience, but truth. What God says, we believe.
Something entirely new… The spiritual reality of participating in His death is great, for through it we have actually become something new. You may not know it, feel it, or experience it, but the day you came to Christ your old self was removed and replaced with Christ’s life. We believe the Scriptures that Christ was crucified for us. Do we not also believe the same Scriptures that teach we were crucified with Christ? God has created something completely new inside of you. This is a spiritual reality, not just a positional
truth. That is your true identity.
(The above text was taken from the book, Sidetracked in the Wilderness, by Michael Wells, and used with permission by the author. You may order a copy by going to: www.abidinglife.com.)
The exchanged life is Christ living His life through us, rather than us trying to make life work through our own efforts and resources. It is made possible by the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6-8).
To man’s ageless question, "Who am I?", the Scriptures answer that our identity as believers is based on our union with Christ. Likewise, God intended that our experience as believers be based on the reality of Christ living in and through us. (NOTE! IDENTIFICATION TRUTHS – Jack)
These liberating truths are deeply rooted in Scripture, particularly in Christ’s final teaching in the Upper Room (John 14-17) and in Paul’s letters, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. Countless godly men and women down through the centuries have experienced the life-changing reality of these truths in their own lives.
Copyright 2003: Exchanged Life Ministries Texas, 9560 Skillman, Suite 124, Dallas, Texas, 75243, Office: 972-680-8541
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."
Jesus says the way to life is through death, and if anyone is to follow Him, they must deny self. This self that we are commanded to deny is our flesh, those self-efforts wherein we attempt to live out of our own resources to meet our needs. And the life that must be lost in order to live is the old man, the Adam-life, that can be exchanged for the very life of Christ.
From web site of Exchanged Life Ministries
The EXCHANGED LIFE defined
Two Kinds of INNER LIFE
Created with a SELF-LIFE