"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, April 13, 2012

DYING TO LIVE

Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV 1984) "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."




Jesus is in the business of bringing death to life. He does it physically; He does it spiritually. He did it with Lazarus (John 11:25). He did it with Saul (Acts 9). He can do it with you.

Last Sunday, we celebrated Easter, and rightly so, because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. But, we shouldn't fail to remember the resurrected life Jesus gives us. As Christians, we have been freed from sin and death to experience true and abundant life. Jesus says, "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10b).

Jesus brings life--eternal life. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a). Because Christ is risen we have the same resurrection hope and power. We celebrate Easter because of the reality of Christ's triumph over death. Christ's victory becomes ours through faith. By faith, the reality of Easter is our reality. Therefore, we are freed to live the resurrected life.

Romans 6:12 teaches we are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. A resurrected life buries the desires of self and crucifies the flesh in order to proclaim this new life that Christ offers. This life is Spirit-led, victorious, obedient, hope-filled, faithful, and loves sacrificially. This is the resurrected life!

Romans 6:13 further instructs us to offer ourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of our body to Him as instruments of righteousness.

Living a resurrected life is a testimony to the risen Lord and a witness to the world. Like Paul, we should honestly be able to say, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20). Just as Christ overcame death, we too can overcome by dying to self in order to live for Him. We die so we can live!

To become like Him in His death is to lay down our life in order to experience the full significance and breadth of a resurrected life. This is the goal and prize Paul was reaching for in Philippians 3:10-14. He wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection; to become like Him in His death, and to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Jesus resurrects my life. As I continue to grow in my faith this truth revolutionizes the way I approach each day. I can see how God has saved me from the clutches of death and continues to restore my life, abundant life. Here are a few examples:
  • He brought victory to my life by delivering me from severe bondage to two eating disorders.
  • He embraced my insecure heart as a young wife and mother and filled in the gaps with His security and significance.
  • He brought healing to brokenness from childhood wounds.
  • He gave me strength to walk with hope and comfort when my mother died.
  • He replaces my fears and concerns with trust in His sovereign will.
  • He brings me joy despite frustrating circumstances.
  • He calms my irritations.
  • He enables me to love and respect my husband.
  • He provides wisdom and patience as I strive to nurture my children.
Do I get it right every time? No. But, I believe the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, is also in me. When I choose to operate in His power and not my own strength, my response to life is beyond my own ability. This is the power to live a victorious, resurrected Christian life!

My pastor says, this is not the "demo or lite" power version. The same power that raised Christ Jesus resides in us. Because this is true, then His power can restore broken marriages, heal friction within family, rearrange our mood, enable us to love the difficult and discipline us to die to our ever present flesh.

Are you dying to live?




Heart Work:
My heart and mind cannot help but wonder at my Savior's sacrifice this day almost 2,000 years ago. The most significant event in history changed everything. How has Christ's victory changed you?

We live in a culture that glosses over this holiday with bunnies, eggs, chocolate and peeps. Spend time reflecting on what Easter means to you and celebrate everyday accordingly. He is risen!

Embrace the truth that the reality of Easter is our reality. We can live resurrected lives.

Don't forget, when we die to self it offers hope and life to others.


Heart Exam:
In what ways has God given you victory and new life? Have you died to self and been made alive in Christ?

How can your life better display the power of the resurrection of Christ?


Heart Changing Word:
John 11:25-26 (NIV) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Romans 6:4-5 "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live new life."

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Cor. 4:10-12 "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."

2 Cor. 5:17 tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

1 Peter 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."




Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.