I was listening to the radio the other day and Stewart Brisco stated one of those truths that catch you off guard. Preaching about following Jesus, he said, “you must die to everything that Jesus died for!” Wow, that really struck home with me. All at once I heard, what I think Jesus sounded like, saying, “everyone who comes after me must take up his cross daily and follow me.” I heard the Apostle Paul’s voice exhorting me to be like him and ‘forget those things that I thought was important in my past and press on toward the goal of the high calling of Jesus Christ.”
Many of my contemporaries do not like to hear about Jesus demanding any kind of self-sacrifice, (unless maybe it is a sacrifice of time and money). It seems that we have long forgotten that without the holiness of God as one of the bookends of grace, we cannot possibly understand what Jesus love is all about! Let’s face it, as people, at one time we were all pretty messed up! I mean that we had fallen so far below God’s righteous standard that we were not even anywhere near the “holiness radar screen.” To make matters worse, even though we may be good moral and ethical people, sin had completely separated us from God. We were enemies of God who deserved, and worked very hard to earn, eternal separation from Him. In bible terms we were all slaves to sin. Sin owned us!
But all of that changed when Jesus came into our hearts. We were made right with God because of Jesus death and resurrection. We not only became His friend, we became His child. How awesome is that? God loved us so much that He provided a way for us to live with Him, in His presence, in His blessing, in His love throughout all eternity! Astounding! However, He does not expect us to stay the way that He found us! He expects us to take inventory of our hearts and lives and “die to everything in us that Christ came to die for.” In other words, a total transformation must take place.
It is nearly impossible to make this transition without the help of the body of Christ! Yep, His Spirit living in you and you abiding in Christ, and His body the church! No one is able to break the power of sin alone. It is not a matter of the will. It is not a matter of determination. It is definitely not a matter of chance! It is a mater of yielding our lives completely to Him. Here comes the really hard part; Jesus expects us to put to death, deal with, get rid of, remove, break, do away with everything that remains within us that does not conform to His character. We need our brothers and sisters to walk through this with us. We need encouragement, accountability, and partnership with others as we follow Jesus and allow Him to remake us so that we can be like Him!
So as one disciple in process to another; thanks for walking with me for a little while!