March 4, 2007

Unity with Him means dying. . .

My worn and frazzled paintbrush is useless, dropping its hairs in the paint and making uneven marks on the wall. This week, my worn and frazzled microwave fell into the same category. It wouldn’t heat a cup of water, never mind cook a meal, so it too became worthless.

I will quickly replace paintbrushes, microwaves and anything else that has lost its ability to do the job. Why then am I so slow to put off the old nature and go with on the new?

Romans 6 and 7 are clear; the old nature is not only useless, it is dangerous. It continues to sin even after God gives me the power of Christ to stop it. It makes me a slave to bad habits long after the sacrifice of Christ has set me free. This spiritual dead thing can shrivel and kill any spiritual fruit I could produce through the life of the Holy Spirit. If I live by it, it will ruin me.

God tells me that I need to know that this old nature is spiritual dead. Romans 6 says, “ . . . knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

A bit later in the chapter, God challenges me again. It isn’t enough to know it; I have to constantly think it. He isn’t asking me to play a mind game with His challenge though. He says, “ . . . reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Reckon” is an accounting term often used to having an unreserved confidence in what one’s mind knows to be true. Know that old nature is dead, then, at any and every opportunity, consider it so. Present myself to God as a living person, not to sin or anything that is separate or contrary to the life of Jesus Christ. Know and remember that because of that separation, those old ways are also dead and will work death in me.

Most of the temptations I face are little prickly things. I’m not much interested in the big sins, like murder, adultery, or robbing a bank, but I will snap impatiently when someone is too slow or cuts me off in traffic, or become annoyed when my routine is interrupted, or reach too often into the candy dish. However, the same principle that crucified my old nature to those “bigger” sins also made me dead to these other sins.

Why, then, is it so easy to refrain from robbery, cheating, or using a gun or baseball bat on people, but so much harder to curb my sweet tooth or hold my tongue? When I figure that out, maybe I’ll drop those ten unwanted pounds, but more important than that, I will better glorify God and become much easier to live with.

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