Romans 8:11-13 (NLT)
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.
The place God led this morning is difficult for me and for that I’m grateful; but I also feel as if I’m facing one of the stony places of my own heart that doesn’t want to fully die to self.
I wish I could repost clips from Oswald Chambers but I contacted Our Daily Bread Ministries (who owns the rights to his materials) and they were very clear any copy/paste from any source is a violation of copyright laws. I suppose it would be un-Christian of me to go against that.
So to paraphrase from the reading that is inspiring this series on Joy (bible.com/devotionals/Joy-Strength in the Lord by Oswald Chambers) he spoke about how EVERYTHING we have and do that is good as a Christian is ONLY because of the life, death and resurrection of Christ and because of that I can no longer live my own life.
It drilled deeper into that concept then posed the question: What is joyful about knowing I can’t live my own life?
And here I sit… and sit… unable to type but only ponder. I realize there is now a tangible sadness at that thought. And the only reason there can be sadness is that on some level I still desire to hang on to the people. things, direction, comforts, rewards and yes, even the sinful pleasures that are not God’s best for my life.
This is one of those situations where sadness and joy must co-exist and I’m now faced with a choice. Let go the past and who I thought I was and where I thought I was going or continue to try and live with one foot in each world; Some of God and some of me.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
21 Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”
25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
So back to the question: What is joyful about knowing I can’t live my own life?
So many thoughts and feelings this morning; I can hear myself from 5 years ago and many times throughout the years saying “I’m all in Lord, take me, use me” however that’s not how it works.
We must willingly surrender our entire lives to the Gospel, to His call, for His glory; He won’t take it from us.
There are no half measures. We don’t get to go to church on Sunday then come home and put our bible on the shelf and get back to what we were doing BEFORE we realized the depths of what it means for Christ to die for us personally and the calling that places on our lives.
Jesus paid the ransom to rescue us from our old life; not steal it away from us. That can be the Joy, knowing I can’t live my own life. Who would want to anyway?
The question should be reworded – can you feel the Joy of knowing you no longer have to live your old life.
So now comes the hard part; dying to self. Our flesh and the Holy Spirit will always exist in stark and powerful contrast to each other; that is the rub. The flesh will bring sorrow for it wants to be comforted, consoled, protected… it wants to “feel good” all of the time. But the Spirit boldy and relentlessly desires what is righteous, holy, pure, perfect, true and just.
We always have a choice – follow the trials of Spirit or succumb to the selfish ways of the flesh.
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.
If we have new life in Christ we must be incredibly diligent in not letting backsliding become a part of our testimony. It is a miserable pit that fights against the Spirit and requires re-death. Get off the train now for it never gets easier. Go ALL IN!
We must always walk in the freedom the Spirit provides; and walk toward the Truth that God set before us.
We are free to live for Christ but MUST die to self before deep inner Joy can be our common companion. Anything less is… well… less.
Father God you make it so clear this morning. This is not an easy message for me but such a critical one; there can be nothing less than ALL IN. Anything less than that requires silencing Your voice, putting down my cross and doing what I want for a moment or a season. I do have vision of the incredible Joy that awaits anyone who has the courage to go ALL IN and although I’ve professed that a hundred times it is sobering to consider to the cost. I surrender that thought to You now Father – where else am I to go. My old man offers nothing of value, I was selfish, prideful, fearful, isolating, addicted, empty, suicidal. Today I am free to run, free to dance, free to sing, I am alive Lord and only because of what You did 2000 years ago; that brings me Joy! Thank you Jesus!