Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dead People - November 24th, 2008

Rom.6:5-7 - “If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” My old friend Barry Swift used to say, “dead people don’t feel anything,” whenever I, he or someone else was tempted to react in any situation. He was right on the money. Reaction is evidence of life - that is why doctors check reflexes - and when that desire to react springs to life I know the old Nate has some dying to do. Reactivity encompasses a lot more than just getting mad when offended; it includes so much - lust, greed, jealousy, unforgiveness, addiction, pride, idolatry and virtually any other sin you can imagine are all reactions by my sinful nature to some stimulus which has a root in my desires (James 1:14-15). I’ve always defined purity as unreactivity with the word; the world and its stimuli don’t solicit a sinful reaction from a Christ centered, Spirit filled and led Christian (James 4:4, 1 Jn.2:15-17). Every time I choose not to react my flesh dies a little bit more and this is the process L.E Maxwell described so articulately saying, “The daily cross, something which is to be the instrument of disgrace and execution…[is] whatever gives occasion for ever deeper test of our self surrender…whatever exposes to shame and death the old aims and purposes and plans, the old spirit of self and its life.” As I die to my self the natural desires upon which sin feeds die and are replaced instead with His desires (Ps.37:4). This is why the flesh can not be rehabilitated but instead must be killed. Remember Lk.9:23-25! So when I die to my self, the old desires are replaced with His and the new Nate is no longer physically reactive, living in the flesh, in my own strength, hypocritically shaming Christ but now instead becomes spiritually proactive, walking by faith and in the power of His Spirit in a way that glorifies Him. A.W. Tozer describes it like this, “In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross he remains on the throne. Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved but insist Christ do all the dying…we doom ourselves to shadows, weakness and spiritual sterility.” As I die to self I am freed from sin. I’ve got some dying to do.

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