The Two Scotts
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I know two versions of me. It is not just that there is an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I have two separate wills that are opposed to each other. One wants those things which, though not immediately gratifying, are best for me in the long run. The other me, wants to satisfy its appetites right now. Damn the consequences. In following one, I automatically neglect the other.
Scott one, gets up early every day to meet God, pointing my life at him. This me, wants to exercise and eat right for all the right reasons. He takes the time to share, with others in need, the love and grace which Christ has shown him. Working at sobriety, he takes time each week to meet with others who are pursuing similar goals. Scott one, can put off the need for immediate gratification to find pleasure, happiness and purpose where he was meant to find it, in God.
Scott two, on the other hand, is an impulsive, reckless creature, bent on satisfying the appetites of the flesh. He would rather sleep in, wake up late and eat donuts. Selfish with his time, he has nothing to give others as he has not filled himself with Christ. Sure, he believes in God but he follows self. Sobriety? He’s fine. Some people do not have to work at it. This me lives from one filling of the belly to the next, finding pleasure and meaning only in each mini-high. As the consequences pile up, so too, do the excuses. Scott two is a walking disaster.
These two versions of me represent the conflict between my spirit life and my flesh life, which are at war with each other (James 4:11, Gal. 5:17). Paul acknowledged this conflict but insisted that my greatest reality lies in my spirit life. My flesh life, though more tangible now, is temporary, destined for the grave. It is in my eternal spirit life, that I have been born again into perfection. In place of my old dead spirit, through Jesus, I now possess a vibrant life in him. This life though, is not manifest automatically. As I am still in this body, I do not just naturally live the perfect life. Paul said that while in this flesh, I must live purposefully, walking by faith, pursuing the life of Christ in me.
As Christ’s work was done at the cross, I used to interpret this passage to mean that I was already transformed. I read this verse, looked at my life and found the two to be incompatible. It was not Christ in me who abused drugs. It was me. I was living my life. How could Christ be living in me if I was still such a mess?
I came to realize that though Christ’s work was done at the cross, the manifestation of his work depended on my daily decision to follow my spirit life or my flesh life. If I sow the seeds of the spirit, I grow life. If I sow the seeds of the flesh, I grow destruction. Living in faith is not passive. Living in faith means I continually choose to be Scott one, denying Scott two, following Christ and growing his perfect life in me.