Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jesus is life

Life. It is celebrated when it starts and it is mourned when it ends.
It is full of good times and full of bad times.
It is reality and is all we have experienced. We don’t know what it was like before we were born and we don’t know what it will be like when we die. The life we have now is all we’ll ever have.
Or is it?
I said earlier how when we are born physically alive we are born spiritually dead because sin has already corrupted us and the penalty of sin is death. There is hope, however. 
I know that it is the most used Sunday school answer (other than God), but Jesus really is the answer.
Jesus is my hope. Jesus is your hope. Jesus may not be the answer to every question (unless you're really creative, 2+2 does not equal Jesus), but He does answer the question of, 
If we are dead spiritually how can we become alive again?
And that's what we want right? We want to be alive, don't we? Because, although life can be absolutely painful and at times terrifying,  life can also be absolutely amazing.
Another reason why we would want to be alive is that we don't want to be dead. Especially because
being dead doesn't mean we just cease to exist. Our souls were created eternal and so they just don't stop, they keep existing. We either exist with God or without Him. We either exist with eternal joy or we exist with eternal torment.

(Now, I didn't mean for this blog to be about deep theological things. I honestly don't know too much about what it will be like when I die. And I'm probably not the best one to explain to you what the bible does say about that subject. So, if you are curious about all that, read the bible and find out for yourself what it says about what happens when we die!)

You want to live? Then believe Jesus when he says that he is the life (John 14:6).
When we were dead in our sins he came and died on the cross for our sins so that we could live!
I had often felt unwanted and unloved growing up. Love was given to me by people, but my soul longed for a deeper love.
When I think about what Jesus Christ did for me -- that he died for me, a messed up and imperfect, girl, he redeemed me and gave me life. That is when I feel most loved. That is when I feel most wanted!
Because I don't deserve it, I didn't earn it, but he did it anyways. For free.
He loved me that much. Whoa.
And because Jesus gave me life that means that I am no longer dead in sin. I am now alive.
Romans 6:11-14 says:

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Before I came alive in Christ it was all about me. What do I want? What do I want to do? Why is this happening to me?
My sinful desires controlled me. 
When I was brought to life by Christ, I died to those sinful desires. Essentially, I died to myself.
I then put on Christ as my new identity.
That is true for any Christian who accepts Jesus as their savior. 
Paul, the writer of many books of the New Testament and follower of Christ, describes his new identity 
this way:

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, 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)
Jesus Christ lives in me. So that should make me perfect right? When God looks at me he sees Christ in me and He sees Jesus' perfection. But I am by myself still imperfect. Sin no longer is my master, but I still struggle with the temptation to go back to sin. Before my choice was to sin, now I have the choice through Christ not to sin.

Before Christ's living in me it was about me. Now that Christ lives in me it's all about him.
I am to offer every part of me to God as an instrument of righteousness. And that is such a struggle!
Because all too often I choose to go back to sin. Every day, though, I am practicing the act of 
refusing myself and living like Christ. And every day it gets easier to choose righteousness than wickedness. Is the struggle worth it? Is it better to have Christ live in me and not do what I 
naturally incline to do? You betcha! 

Christ has brought me out of the darkness of my hopelessness and  my unloved and unwanted state.
Christ has brought me into his marvelous light! And in that light I feel more love and  more wanted than I ever have.

Some questions to ask yourself:
~What does it mean in Romans 6:11-14 to not offer yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness?
~What does it mean to offer every part of yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness?
 ~You have died and it is Christ that lives in you. If your old self is no longer, then who are you 
and what is your identity? 
~If your purpose is to no longer live for yourself, what is your purpose? 











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