Thursday, April 4, 2013

In Christ - I am dead to sin

Romans 6:1-4,17,18  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 

KPRZ – Encouragement for Today Devotional
April 10, 2012

I Gotta Die
Karen Ehman

"[I assure you] by the pride which I have in you in [your fellowship and union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self]." 1 Corinthians 15:31 (AMP)

“My 14-year-old son has a fondness for iPod games; ones where a creature has to jump, twist, dodge and dart in an effort to stay alive. Often he plays them on our short commute to school each morning.

“As we drive, we go over pick-up instructions. (At the middle school after wrestling practice? Or at the high school if there is optional weight-lifting that day? And what time?)

“I also give my ‘Be sure your sins will find you out’ lecture that my own sweet mama often gave me.

“The man cub just keeps playing his game, acting as if he's not listening. But I know he is.

“Often, when jockeying for position in the parental carpool line, I will inform my boy it's time to get out of the vehicle. Usually, still engaged in the game he will utter the same phrase to me, ‘Hang on a second. I gotta die.’

“As in, ‘I'm still finishing this round. I don't want to power off just yet. Let my character finish this round until it dies. Then I will get out of the car.’

“As he uttered it this morning, it spoke to my soul.

“As a follower of Christ, I am to die to self. But so often, I do not. I elevate self. I promote self. I think little of the other person and much of me.

“But before I react ... before I hurl a harsh word ... before I pass judgment or speak unkindly to my husband or snap at my child, perhaps I need to take a deep breath ...

“To pause and ponder ...

“To say in a spiritual sense, ‘Hang on a second. I gotta die.’

“Die to self.

“Die to flesh.

“Die to my ‘rights’ that often result in my acting wrongly.

“Yes, Paul said it best in today's key verse, ‘I die daily.’

“Does this mean in everything?

“So often when we think of Jesus' admonition that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend, we think of the dramatic ways that might happen. We might jump in front of a car in order to get our friend out of harm's way. A soldier might willingly give up his life on the battlefield.

“But what if it also means that we learn to die to self in the every day details of life? In my interactions with others, especially those within my own family? These daily, hourly and even moment-by-moment decisions sometimes seem difficult!

“And, if trying in our own strength, they will also be impossible. It is at these junctures that we must draw deep from the power the Holy Spirit offers and let His proper response over-ride our natural and sinful one.

“So, the next time we want to react in a way to another person that won't please God, let's remember my game-lovin' man cub. And before we speak, let's take a deep breath; a pause that centers our heart, snaps our soul to attention and gently declares ...

“Hang on a second. I gotta die.

“Dear Lord, may I purpose to die daily. To both act and react in a way that pleases You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.”

OUCH!  Dying to self doesn’t feel good at all – in fact, there are times when it’s downright PAINFUL!  BUT – there’s something about it that brings a sense of inner peace, too – when you know you’ve died to yourself and your own needs, you’ve just experienced a little taste of what it means to “life for Christ.”  It’s a question – and a choice – we need to ask ourselves daily.  Have you died today?  I’ve tried – but I have to admit that the flesh is a lot stronger than it looks! 

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