The Journey, Pt. 5

Jesus died and was resurrected so that we could have a resurrection in our own life as well. I believe this. I believe that is God‘s plan for our life. Jesus gave up His life so we could have a more abundant life in our emotions, in our finances, in our marriage, in our purpose, in our calling. So what is the pathway to this kind of life? Mark 8:35 tells us if we try to hang on to our life, if we are out there to fight and defend and make the most of our own life without God, that we are going to lose it. But if we give up our life for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the Good News, we will save it. It’s a paradox. We live in a day and time where self-preservation is the typical way of life. We work at self promotion endlessly. We are self-indulgent without satisfaction. But the goal of the abundant life is not pleasure, but purpose, to make a difference. Jesus explained “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves (it’s not about us) and take up their cross and follow me.” We are used to seeing the cross symbol on our churches and on jewelry. But at the point in history when Jesus taught this precept, the cross was a place of death. He was saying that His disciples have to die. The natural reaction is “What?! That’s not what I signed up for!” However, keep in mind, you can’t have a resurrection without a death and God’s best for you is a personal resurrection, here and for eternity. So how do we die in order to live? Let me give you three things from the book of Galatians.

1)Die to self. Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, (by the way he is writing this while he is alive so we are not talking about physical death but he’s talking about death to self) but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

If you want to experience the best of what God has for you, then you need to have moments where you go to God in prayer often, daily even, and ask Him to help you die to self. I challenge you to try for this week. Take seven days and just see if it doesn’t become one of the best weeks of your life. Surrender yourself to His Lordship completely. Surrender your mind, eyes, ears, mouth, heart, hands, feet. Give them to Him for His use. Here’s a simple verse to memorize, “I die every day” I Corinthians 15:31. Pray this verse in your quiet time tomorrow and take a few minutes to say “God, you can have all of me and all of my stuff, all my activities, all my work, all myself.”

2. Die to flesh. Flesh is the natural part of you, the soul - the mind, will and emotions. It’s where you're prone to be hurt or where you have lust or greed or pride. Paul explains “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17 ESV). In verse 24, he goes on to say that those who belong to Christ have put their flesh to death along with the passions and desires of the flesh. So, if prayer is the way we die to self, what do we do to die to our flesh? We worship. Worship elevates God and lowers me. It’s all about Him and it will literally calm the beast on the inside of you. Worship brings peace to the soul.

3) Die to the world. We need to decide how much of the world we are going to allow in our life. Some have way too much of the world in their life and it’s impossible to have that amount of the world and have the life of God operating in fullness too. You may want specifics, but the fact of the matter is, the Holy Spirit has been convicting you about some things for a long time. You need to listen to Him and do what He has been telling you to do. So how do you die to the world? Elevate the Word. Jesus prayed “I have given them your word…They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (John 17:14-17 NLT). God’s word is truth!

I’m giving you a formula that will only take you 15 minutes a day. Five minutes to surrender in prayer, five minutes to worship and calm the savage beast on the inside, and five minutes in the Word to establish separation from the world. Try this for a week and see the difference it makes.
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