Thursday, May 01, 2014

Die to live

new plant
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Life out of death is one of the Bible's recurring themes. We ask, how can it be? Yet at some deep level we grasp its truth.

The principle of life out of death:
  • Is seen in nature: "'… unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain'" - John 12:22 (also 1 Corinthians 15:36).
  • Is demonstrated in believer's baptism - Romans 6:4.
  • Jesus described it as a condition for following Him - Luke 9:24.
  • Becomes personal as we apply verses like Galatians 2:20 ("I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me…")  and Colossians 3:3 ("For you died and your life is hidden in Christ with God").

I suppose this crucifixion or death will mean something slightly different to each one of us. But overall it implies that we give up our rights to ourselves, our agendas, possessions, families, vacations, how we spend our time, always ready to come or go at His beck and call.

Radical? Yes.

Nonsensical? No.

The result is worth if, for if we have "died"  the "… life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11); "…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20); "… your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3); " … you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).  (Emphasis added.)

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know the practical outworking of what it means to lose myself for Your sake, to be crucified and die to myself on this day, not as theory but in actual living. Amen.

MORE: Feast of St. Philip and St. James

Today the church celebrates two of the apostles who followed Jesus in this way: Philip and James. The day's liturgy begins with this collect:

Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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