“Not I but Christ in me” is one of the highest goals in our spiritual development. Some people think that it is beyond our reach in this lifetime. Others are put off by the religious connotations. Both these responses reveal a misunderstanding of the true nature of these words. What St Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 2 goes like this:
“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.” Gal 2:20
If we examine the Greek words closely a new picture emerges. Christ, (Christos meaning anointed) to crucify (sustauroō, with a stake) the flesh to live (zao, spiritual living), no longer I (ego) but in my Christos (my anointing) and in the present time live (zao, spiritual life) in my flesh (sarx, astral), to live (zao) with faith (pistis, which means a conviction based on hearing) and the son of God that loves (agapao, the highest love) and gave (paradidōmi, which means giving in close proximity) himself for my sake.
One way to paraphrase this would be to say that Christ pins the astral body down, and with it our ego, and gives it spiritual life. This is an ongoing process. At present, as our astral body is being given spiritual life, we are anointed and we can hear the inner word from the loving son of God who gives himself to us for our sake.
To fully understand what this is saying it is helpful to remove from our minds any religious ideas and images that we might have. They often hamper us from grasping these important truths. St Paul is telling us about the activity of Christ within our being. It pins down our astral, anoints it, which raises it from physical life to spiritual life, so that we hear the spiritual love of the son of God, which comes to us Inspiration – we hear words of truth as they echo inside us. This is why Christ came so that he could continually pour from himself all that is necessary for us to become him, to be anointed as he is.
So how does this play out in our lives? Let’s say that someone annoys us. Their behaviour irritates us and our animosity intensifies. This activity takes place in our astral body. Our emotions become agitated. As we experience this happening we can bring to mind this idea of Christ pinning down our astral, quietening our emotions. Then we can think to ourselves; Not I but Christ in me. Then we can say, “If ‘I’ can’t love them then let me experience how ‘the Christ in me’ can love them. Then the anointing takes place within us. We become Christ-ened and our lower responses are resurrected.