"You have to die, man!" is a phrase that I often hear my husband say as he counsels other men. He means what Paul said in Galatians 2:20.
This advice is typical when he is helping a new husband or father-to-be understand how to live out their new role in life. He means that death must come in order to serve. There is no longer time to be selfish.
New life-stages tend to have the ability to show us how selfish our hearts truly are, as Ashley bravely shared yesterday in "I Hate Being A Housewife". However, as Galatians says, Christ lives in me and gives me the faith to live for Him, not my selfish desires.
Before responding to the gospel, all are dead to Christ because we were slaves to sin and Satan. A harsh reality, but one that shows that our hearts, even in perceived selflessness, sought to serve anything but God. Deep down, any service we do without Christ as the motivator and perfecter can be traced to selfish sinful motives. All our best efforts are a pile of rags on the floor of the throne room of God.
After responding to Christ's offer of salvation by repenting of sin, a great exchange happens. We were once dead in sin but have been made alive in Christ. (Colossians 2:13). This is GREAT NEWS for the selfishly-challenged. It means that, through Christ, we have the power to choose to serve others instead of ourselves.
Colossians says that the life we now live is actually Christ living in us. It sure doesn't feel like that sometimes though! My flesh and spirit are at constant war with each other. The truth is that even when I don't feel like Christ dwells in me and is living for me, he is! The old me IS DEAD.
Our old self is passing away, as our inner self is being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 2:16)
I picture a dying tree as my old self. I have one of two choices in getting that ugly dying tree to come down.
1. Let it rot. Do nothing but maintain status quo. This is obviously the easiest, but not the best option. Decaying things stink. This is a great way to fail in your marriage and fail as a parent.
2. Take a chainsaw to it. The two men that read this blog are going..."Yeah, power tools!" Cutting down your old self is definitely the quicker way to go. It might be a bit more painful as there are parts of your 'tree' that may very well still feel alive. Getting rid of that dying tree, however, allows room for new growth to take place.
The Word of God is called a sword for many reasons, and I think it's fitting. Read it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. It is the power you need to cut that tree down. Google is your best friend for finding whatever verse you need to combat sin.
Pray for yourself. That act in itself sounds selfish, but it's not. Actually, not praying for yourself is more selfish, because in a way, it’s telling God that you don't need His help. He can give you the strength you need to die to your selfish desires.
Practice selflessness, whatever that could look like in your life. For my six year old, it might mean letting his brother have his favorite color of plate for dinner. For me, it means saying yes to my husband even though I've had an exhausting day. Pick one thing and act on it this week. Today. This hour!
See You In The Round!
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."