A Deeper Death

 

"For I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Galations 2:20...."I die daily" I Corinthians 15:13...."Take no thought for your life." Matthew 6:25....."The great word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon." Oswald Chambers

I remember the words of my first pastor when he would speak of the challenges, difficulties, criticism, opposition, and opinions of others concerning him. He would say that he had to "die out" to the effect they had upon him, or to any desire to vindicate himself, or take it upon himself to change the situation, circumstances, or person(s). He said he would have to "die to" all of those impulses. And, to the best of my memory in watching his life, he did. It was also the message he brought forth in his ministry of 40 plus years. Do you and I have such a witness and testimony? What is our response to those things named above, and all those things not named? When our flesh is assaulted, what do we do? Assert our "right" to defend ourselves, which is always the reaction of the flesh. Or, do we surrender that right at the cross? Do we crucify it, die to it, so that He lives in us in that place? Do we abandon all....reputation, desires, conflicts, opinions, dreams, hopes, and all the battles of life, to Him?

In the current church culture that so emphasizes achieving our optimum "destiny" and maximizing our lives, the idea of a cross-style life doesn't seem to have much place. People are much more interested in "living up" not dying out. Has it ever dawned on us that the main beneficiary of all our hopes and dreams is usually ourselves? Yes, others may well benefit, but who benefits most, or at least, just as much? But it is more than just about our dreams, hopes and destiny. It's about how we "do life." To be a true follower of Christ is to live a life that sets you apart. It shows in behaviors for sure, but it appears far more in our inner witness. In and through our spirits. It is is literally Christ appearing in and through us. To live such life means we must die to all that is not that life. It can't happen by our trying harder or doing more. It can only take place at the cross. There we die, and there we also come alive.

The thing of it is, to enter into His deeper life, we must be willing to enter into a deeper death. This means a deeper surrender, a deeper consecration, which will yield a deeper work of grace in us. Leonard Ravenhill said of Paul that he was "Fully surrendered, wholly sanctified, completely satisfied. Complete in Christ."
Are these familiar terms to your life and mine? Do they emanate from our pulpits? Are they witness the of our fellowships? I know that in my life, I need to take that road that leads to an ever greater surrender, an ever deeper dying out to myself. An ever greater portion of His life within me. That road only leads to one place. His cross....and into the abundance of His resurrection life that lies beyond it. A deeper death, a greater life. The road lies before us. Before you. Do we take it?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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