Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dying to Live - March 20th, 2009

Rom.8:13-14 - “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” In other words, if I try to save my life I will lose it (Lk.9:24). I must be actively involved in the destruction of the worldly self, a premeditated murder of the sinful nature, accomplishing this in the power of His Holy Spirit (see post entitled “Premeditated Murder,” Feb.23rd, 2009). All true children of God, indwelt and empowered by His Holy Spirit, find themselves being led daily on a march which along the way constantly requires their own death but which ultimately culminates in true life. Tozer described this saying, “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.” If I want to experience the power of His resurrection I must first be conformed to His death (Phil3:6, see post entitled “The Power of His Resurrection,” Feb.19th, 2009). Dying to self is the key to victory over sin (remember there is no rehabbing the flesh - it must die) but it is also the key to true life (as Rom.8:13-14 and the past 5 or 6 verses describe). The physical consequences of sin are the destruction of my body while the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of sin are the loss of the abundant life Christ promises; the more I strive to live the less life I experience. This is the dilemma described by Solomon in Ec.2:17 - “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” If I want to experience true and abundant life I need to quit trying to achieve it and start dying to the self that prevents it. As L.E. Maxwell’s puts it, I need to constantly embrace “the daily cross, something which is to be the instrument of disgrace and execution…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.”

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