Somewhere around the mid 1700’s, Christopher Wiles was born. In our Wiles’ family history book, he was the oldest ancestor traceable without help from a professional genealogist. Because he was born and later married, I’m alive. Sure my parents contributed, but Dad descended from him and I descended from Dad.
My ancestor’s traits also follow me. You can line up a handful of Wiles, look at their appearance, listen to them talk and similarities appear-distinctive noses, large hands, hairy arms.
Living the Christian life is similar. I don’t share Jesus’ physical traits, but I do share his spiritual legacy which is far more essential. Paul writes of himself and believers: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Crucifixion was a cruel form of punishment but affected no vital organs. Death came slowly and agonizingly. But no matter how it happens dead is dead, and Jesus was. When I accept Christ as Savior through the free forgiveness of my sins, his death becomes mine. As Jesus hung on the cross paying for the world’s sins, I hung with him.
Everyone is a product of their past to a degree. Parents and grandparents instill certain values in their offspring. Traditions are passed along. Childhood messages delivered by parents, teachers and other significant people are recorded in the mind.
Early experiences have a monumental affect on self esteem, but in Christ we don’t have to be prisoners of our past. Regardless of negative messages heard in childhood or sinful behavior we’re ashamed of, Christ wipes the slate clean. His legacy becomes mine.
Connecting to God by faith allows us to experience the crucifixion’s benefits. No longer do we live for ourselves and our selfish desires but for God.
Live life outwardly instead of inwardly. Examine your actions for evidences of new life in Christ and pass on the legacy.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we live Your legacy through our lives.
Martin Wiles is a “preacher’s kid,” author, speaker, and
freelance writer and editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He
and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God, a devotional ministry
that helps those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon.