But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Paul found something so much better in Jesus Christ than he could have ever hoped for. And truly after that day when Jesus became real to him, the things of this world lost their luster. Everything changed about Paul—his focus, his desires, his pursuits, and his passions. He changed what he did and where he went and how he went about life. The world was dead to him. All those things that used to matter were put to death, and Jesus rose up in their place. Now he wanted no other achievement, no other identity, no other calling but to live in Christ alone.
Upon our salvation, our acceptance of Christ, we become new creatures, but it does require a death—a twofold death, really—where the world is dead to us and we are dead to the world and the only life left is Christ in us. The former things offer no life anymore. They do not satisfy or fill or nourish us, but they are buried and set aside to live no more. The world has no claim on us, and through Christ who overcame the world, we have our victory. We achieve a permanent separation from the world.
But now that we have this new life, how are we going to live it? Will we, like Paul, change our focus and what we do and set aside what used to matter so much so that Jesus is at the center of every part of our lives? It is all about what Jesus did for us, the work He accomplished, and the life He so graciously imparts to us. It is about Him working in us and through us as we serve and honor Him. It is about Christ overcoming sin and death and this world so that we can have real life in Him.
There are so many things about us that can change when we invite Christ into our hearts. When we are truly willing to submit to that death of self and take on this newness of life, our old sinful identities can pass away. The failures and regrets of our past are buried. Those strivings and longings for something meaningful are fulfilled by the life of Christ in us. And truly it is Jesus who makes our lives worth living at all.