Jon Foreman once said, “There’s only two ways out of this world and neither of them are safe…”
What does Jon mean? I’ve pondered this a lot in the last couple months. I think it means this: we can wait around going about life with no meaning and purpose until we die our physical deaths…
We could die now. We could die to ourselves…to our flesh, to our false selves.
Neither of those are safe are they? But which one would you rather have? I’ll take the dying to myself. Here’s why:
It is in dying that life is born.
It is in crucifixation that resurrection springs forth.
It is in the empty tomb that purpose is found.
Christ said He came to give life and give it ABUNDANTLY!
Why do so many of us never come alive?
I think what Doc Reece said about our wanting cheap grace hits the nail on the head! We want to simply be justifed. We’re okay with justification, but where is the longing for sanctication?
We cannot have the life Christ gives if we are in charge of our own little worlds can we? And realizing we aren’t in charge is first. There’s nothing we can do on our own or by our own merit that promotes Deification. I don’t want to make this sound like we are the ones doing this. Only the Holy Spirit can transform our lives and perhaps with our not even realizing He is at work. Our job is to be willing and participate with Him through the disciplines in the work He wants to do.
My friend David said, “In fact even if not in awareness Santificication begins with Chrismation and indeed the response of surrender is initiated by the Holy Spirit endwelling us — We can ‘work out our own salvation’ ONLY BECAUSE, as Paul says ‘God worketh in us both to will and to do.’ I have a concern about reliance on felling or awareness. God works at depths where we are hardly aware.”
But can we fully come to life when the programmer at the center of our beings is our False Self?
No, we cannot.
The thing about dying to yourself is that when you get up on that Cross and you die to the False Self, Christ comes in and lives! St. Paul says in Galatian 2:19-20, “It is no longer I who live, but it is 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.” St. Paul is saying he got rid of the old programmer, his Self. He let Christ come in and live through Him.
Christ is eternally begotten of the Father: God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father.
Hence when we die to our False Selves we have a new past, present, and future because we take on His eternal transcendence! We take on His life for our old life is gone, it’s dead…CRUCIFIED.
Dying is a daily and life long process.
Jesus Christ said, “‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”
Christ has called us to pick up our crosses, deny ourselves, and follow Him. What did Christ do with His Cross again? Oh yes, He got up on it and died!
Who are we to expect that we shouldn’t follow Him in death. Did not St. Paul say in Romans 6, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
He says in Romans 8, “But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ* from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through* his Spirit that dwells in you.”
Herein lies a GRAND and GLORIOUS TRUTH: That the Almighty and Living God dwells within us. The Divine resides in our hearts, His mercy seat.
WOW! I don’t know about you folks, but that is a mind-blowing truth!
That the Creator of all and the Sustainer of all life resides in us!
And if we die to our False Selves then that same Spirit will bring us life, an abundant life full of joy and goodness.
Haven’t you had enough of trying to live on your own? Do you feel how dead we are when we are the captains of our own souls?
St. Paul said in II Corinthians 4:11, “For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.”
We are Imago Deo! So why aren’t we dying to our False Selves and letting the Spirit of Christ live in us?
Why do we settle for the mediocre?
Why do we settle for the garbage of living our lives on our own?
Why do we settle for the trivial?
When we’re the programmer life is not going to be what it is supposed to be.
Do you feel alive? Do you survive or do you want to THRIVE?
I want to come alive.
O sleeper, arise from your grave.
There is a longing within us ALL to live and live fully. Christ has made this possible for us. If only we get up on our crosses and die the death He died so that we can live the life He lives.
There is hope for real life full of purpose and meaning and joy.
Raise your Ebenezer, your stone of hope this day.
Don’t merely stop at the foot of the Cross, get up on it you weary traveler!
Put the nails in your hands and feet.
Put your Flesh to death.
Suffer death to Self.
“For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain…” says St. Paul.
I’m ready to die. I’m ready to put the False Self to death. I’m ready to partake of the Divine Nature St. Peter speaks about in his epislte. And this summer I died to myself. In that moment I felt a large weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt a peace. A freedom. A new life. I yearn to do this daily. It’s a life long process. Do you want this as well?
I’m praying we all find fulfillment and validation on the Cross, the Way of Life. Paradoxical? Yes, but is it true? You can bet your life on it, or better yet lose your life on it. You’ll get a new, better life anyways…