I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
As a child, I learned in Sunday School that Jesus was God's Son and He came to die a cruel death on the Cross for my sins. I didn't like that story. It didn't seem fair-- that He should have to do that for us-that we were judged "guilty" before we ever had a chance to be "good." In my mind I was raising my hand in the classroom of my heart, hoping to get God's attention. I wanted to shout: Have you noticed me down here, God? I'm living a really good life. I don't want Jesus to die for me. You can use that blood on somebody else.
I didn't know if He heard, but it didn't matter-I'd already made up my mind. So I tried very hard to be perfect and on most days, I thought I did a very good job. But then one day my younger sister was not being very "perfect" to me in the sandbox. If I had to be perfect, why couldn't she? It didn't seem fair. In a flash of anger, I whacked her on the head with the closest thing at hand-the glass bottle I'd been filling with sand! Blood gushed from the crown of her head and I was horrified. The scalp wound was minor, but it bled profusely and I thought I'd killed her. I was devastated! I didn't even get a spanking, though I'd certainly earned one. All that blood because of me was enough to help me realize how much I needed the blood Jesus Christ shed for me. So I made a profession of faith in Christ to be my Savior, was baptized, and joined the church at the age of eight.
Now I thought I really would be perfect for sure, but it didn't happen. I had to learn and am still learning about the subtle nature of sin and the unlimited magnitude of grace. Both are so big it will take a lifetime, but now I have a Teacher, the Holy Spirit--Christ's gift, residing in my heart, helping me live like I should, and setting me back on track when I fail. Sometimes, like Peter in the Upper Room, pride still surfaces and gets the upper hand: "You shall never wash my feet! " (Luke 13:8). And then the Spirit confronts me with my need, as Christ did with Peter: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." In a moment, I know that sin has intervened. Hopefully, like Peter, I will quickly respond: "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." That's when the words of Jesus remind me of the daily spiritual submission I need to keep growing: "He who is bathed, needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean...."