January 30, 2012

New life means dying first

In some cultures and religions, if a member becomes a Christian, the rest consider that person as dead. A funeral may be held, but if not, the new believer is put outside the group, and if not persecuted, is totally shunned. For some, this means no interaction at all, which could include no employment, marriage, or any of the usual relationships with family and friends. Oddly enough, those who treat a believer this way have a partial understanding of what it means to be a Christian. 

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
The part that these groups do not get right is that this verse is for the believer to apply, not them. It means that Christians like myself have died to their old life and been given a new life. That is, God, by His Spirit put us “in Christ” so that when Christ died, we died too. But that is not the end. Just as He rose from the dead, so do we. The life we now live is His life, a new life. 

Those who walk in that new life have changed. Often this change is so dramatic that it makes a deep impression on family and friends. For some, this is positive and draws them closer to God. For others, this is a threat to everything they believe and practice. Instead of merely saying ‘no’ to faith in Christ, they want to get rid of the messenger, put them out of sight and out of mind. If the living reminder is “dead and buried” then they can carry on in whatever way they choose without any in-your-face proof that another life is possible.

Lord, this morning brings another set of heart hiccups. I’m about to leave for the ER and for the electrical fix to put it right. As I go, may I remember that I too have new life. Instead of fear or anxiety about my body, help me focus on that walk that demonstrates Your life in me so profoundly that others cannot help but notice. Of course I don’t want anyone to try to get rid of me, but that others will have a positive and delighted response to what they see.

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