There is a difference between devotion to principles and devotion to a person. Hundreds of people today are devoting themselves to phases of truth, to causes. Jesus Christ never asks us to devote ourselves to a cause or a creed; he asks us to devote ourselves to him, to sign away the right to ourselves and yield to him absolutely, and take up that cross daily. The cross Jesus asks us to take up cannot be suffering for conviction's sake, because a man will suffer for conviction's sake whether he is a Christian or not. Neither can it be suffering for conscience' sake, because a man will go to martyrdom for his principles without having one spark of the grace of God in his heart. Paul says, "If I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3). What then is our cross? Our cross is something that comes only with the peculiar relationship of a disciple to Jesus. It is the sign that we have denied our right to ourselves and are determined to manifest that we are no longer our own; we have given away forever our right to ourselves to Jesus Christ.
The characteristic of the cross we carry daily is that we have been "crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20 does not refer merely to the fact that our "old man" has been crucified with Christ; it refers to the glorious liberty we have of sacrificing ourselves for Jesus Christ every day we live. What is sacrifice? Giving back to God the best I have in order that he may make it an eternal possession of his and mine forever.
But something must happen first. The meaning of salvation and sanctification is not only the removal of the wrong disposition, but the radical alteration of identity. Paul says that his destiny is no longer self-realization, but Christ-identity; "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." We need to remember that we cannot train ourselves to be Christians; we cannot discipline ourselves to be saints; we cannot bend ourselves to the will of God: we have to be broken to the will of God. There must be a break with the dominant ruler. We may be clean and upright and religious; we may be Christian workers and have been mightily used of God; but if the bedrock of self-realization has not been blasted out by our own free choice at the cross of Christ, shipwreck is the only thing in the end. We enter into the kingdom of God through the cross of Jesus Christ, and self-realization cannot get through with us; it must be left outside. We must be broken from self-realization; immediately that point is reached the reality of the supernatural identification with the death of Jesus Christ takes place, and the witness of the Spirit is unmistakable-"I have been crucified with Christ."
Jesus Christ can take the man who has been broken by sin and twisted with wrongdoing and can reinstate him, not as an angel, thank God, but as a man, and present him before the throne of God without blemish, through the sheer omnipotence of his atonement.
[Oswald Chambers, Facing Reality]