Posts Tagged crucify

That’s Life

Romans 8: 5 – 6

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

I hope you have been enjoying this abbreviated look at the life Christ bought for us and I hope you have a bigger idea of what your life now is supposed to be like. It is a Deuteronomy 28 and beyond lifestyle and it is all yours in Christ. Once you die to your old ways and thoughts, you can move into the new life in Christ.

The Greek word used here and translated as “life” is zoe. There are other Greek words which also are translated as life. The use of this particular word is significant, though. Zoe, means the God kind of life. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says this is “life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself.” We have become partakers of God’s life through belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

We had one kind of life before Christ. We can continue to live in that kind of life even after salvation if we so choose but for those who decide to crucify the flesh, there is newness of life and that is this zoe, or God life. The life force of God is available to those who decide to give up self and live to Christ.

I don’t think we are even beginning to understand this life of God and the impact it can have on us when it becomes resident in us. I know I cannot fully appreciate it yet because I still worship self too much. I still think my old way at times, react in old ways and have my wants and desires enthroned in the temple of Ivey instead of making Jesus the absolute center of my world.

What happens in a life that truly is abandoned to God? What could our lives really be if we could learn to crucify our self-centeredness? I don’t know but I believe we could live way beyond anything we are currently experiencing, beyond what we can imagine. I don’t think it would be life as we know it. It is easy to think that if we have God’s actual life force at work in us then nothing would, or even could, be impossible.

I hope this week’s verses have caused you to ponder the possibilities. As Christians, where are we now? Where could we be? What could life hold for us and those we may impact if we could wrap our heads, or better, our spirits around the concepts found in these verses? What would it mean to your personal existence if the life of God filled you to overflowing? I want that for you, for all of us. I would also love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Post a note or send a reply. I pray zoe for you.

Newness of Life

Romans 6: 4

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Yesterday we looked at the sixth verse of this chapter which was about crucifying our old self. As we see today, that is not the end. After self is crucified, it is supposed to be buried. The problem many of us have is that we keep digging up that old man. The newness of life, however, is in our death, burial and subsequent resurrection, not in digging up the dead.

We die “so we too might walk in newness of life.” Picture the old you, the you that you grew up knowing, nailed to the cross with Jesus. It may be a bit macabre but it also highlights an important spiritual reality. Watch as the deceased “old you” is removed from the cross and laid in a tomb with Jesus. You are dead and buried. Then see what happens when Jesus arises from the dead. Are you awakened by his stirrings? You arise with him. The old life is gone but here is a new life, a renewal through Jesus. You are born of his resurrection and of his new life. You are a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away.

Get a picture in your mind of how this new you looks. Is there a new countenance to your face? Do you perceive something new or different about yourself? This dying to self and burying the crucified flesh is not just a cute story or analogy. God would tell you this is the real deal. He is trying to show you the reality of what is happening in the spiritual world. You can have newness of life – you were meant to, but it comes in this strange wrapping of death, burial and resurrection, I mean actual death, actual burial and actual resurrection. Although these are spiritual realities that does not make them any less real than physical realities and in truth, they are more powerful than the physical because the spiritual realm trumps the physical.

If you can wrap your head around these verses and not treat them as mere analogies, then you can arise with new breath and every fiber of your being will react to the new life within you.

Funeral Pyre

Romans 6: 6

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.

I had a dream last week which I would like to share with you. As the dream opened I saw myself carrying what I understood to be an urn of human ashes. I did not know whose ashes they were but knew that I was supposed to spread them for the deceased. Suddenly, there appeared before me a statue of Jesus. Have you ever seen a statue of Jesus? I have not but I imagine it would be one of him humbly attired, standing with an expression of peace and compassion adorning his face. This was not that statute. This was a statue of a heroic Jesus. He was standing with one foot on a rock, head lifted and chest thrusted out much the way Captain Morgan commercials depict people. I was surprised at this pose. Jesus’ hair was shorter than expected and his face looked toward the horizon with a slight smile and a victorious expression. I remember thinking, “Well, that makes sense,” even though I was initially surprised. Then I understood to scatter the ashes all around the base of the statue, which I did. That was the end of the dream. Okay Joseph, what does it mean?

It wasn’t until I awakened that I realized the ashes were mine. Have you heard the expression, “dying to self?” God was calling me to crucify the old man, incinerate his ideas, plans and ways. I was drawn to lay the charred ashes of my former self at the feet of the victorious Christ. You and I are supposed to stand with him in victory but we cannot do that in our old selves. We must cast off the old man and be renewed in Jesus’ victory and resurrection.

We fight bitterly to hang on to our old selves but in the end, there lies the path of destruction. When we stand with Jesus, the ashes of our former self trodden under foot without a thought, we stand on high ground reaching toward the horizon ourselves. No sin, no pain, no slight or injury from our past mars the glory which shines upon our faces because they have been incinerated. Our faces reflect Jesus and the glory the Father has given him since the beginning of time. We are in Jesus and have already overcome. Just die and you will live. You will truly live for the first time in your life. All of the shackles will fall from your heart, your body will feel light, young and strong and you will have the wind of the Holy Spirit in your lungs. Just die, it is the healthiest thing you can do.

The Seed of Life

John 12: 24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

No one wants to die but if we die to Jesus, giving him our lives, then we are born anew of incorruptible seed which bears much fruit.

Jesus was talking about giving up his life, dying, so that he might bear much fruit. Only through death does the wheat generate new life. So it is with us. When we lay down our lives God creates a new life with that seed. We are reborn in the image of Christ. This is not, however, primarily a salvation message unless you embrace the full definition of salvation. When Jesus speaks of salvation he means saving grace in absolutely every area of our lives, in every aspect of human experience. 

Paul wrote about this need to lay down our lives and live to Christ. He said “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4: 22, 24). You see, there must be a continual surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. We must continually bury our self-induced desires and put on the mantle of Christ. In other words, this dying to self is, at least for most of us, a continuing process. Few people have the ability to once and for all give everything to Christ. Typically we grow in our spiritual life and as we do we find things which we are ready to release to him. The central theme is that we must crucify this flesh which seeks only to indulge self. It seeks to satisfy and promote the ego. When, however, we take on the crucifixion of our Lord, we bury the selfish desires and live unto him. We seek to honor and promote him. The only way to do this, though, is to die. And when we do, he raises us anew. Each time we bury a self-oriented aspect of our personalities he raises up a glorified version. Then there is no more striving for then we can truly walk in his grace. Our eyes become fixed on him and we live in him. 

This may sound mystical and other worldly but it really is as simple as taking our eyes off of ourselves. We may notice how often we use the pronoun “I” and surrender those areas to our Christ. We may notice when our vision is full of ourselves instead of on the kingdom and pray for help in crucifying the carnal person. The key is that when we die, we live. Everything that we bury, Jesus resurrects in new and glorious life. We never lose anything. We gain everything.

Please search your heart today. Is your energy spent satisfying your needs and desires or are you truly devoted to Christ today? Is he your focus and desire? Is your work dedicated to him, your leisure, your home life, your thought life? Are your songs a testimony to him? How about the words you speak? I am not saying that you cannot have anything for yourself. I am only saying for you to let him give them to you instead of you seeking them.