Tuesday, May 4, 2010

THE DEATH SENTENCE

A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


          “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules…?”  --Col. 2:20

          “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…”  --Col. 3:5

          “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  --2 Cor. 1:9

          At which point in this life with Christ can we bring worthy offerings, and brilliant ideas, and our own solutions to our problems? 
            At which point in our walk with Jesus can we submit our own plans, and build our own dreams, and construct our own lives? 
            When are we able to stand on our own two feet, pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, tunnel through, over and around our mountains, or think our way into positive living?

            The answer is never.
            Christ is our life, and His Spirit is our power to live, and the life we wish to save is the life we are told to give up.
            We, and all our wonderful schemes and plans for our lives, are under the death sentence.  And as long as you and I continue to fight and scheme and plan our own futures, leaning on the basic principles of this world, then we are building worthless idols to our own ideas and dreams.
            Christ has no plan but that the Kingdom of God come on this earth.
            God the Father has no plan but to love us, and to have us love one another.
            There is no fancy book of business ideas that is going to make this a reality.
            It is already a reality.
            Either you and I are participating in it, and doing the work of God in God’s Way, just as Jesus did, or we are avoiding it, leaning on our own understanding, and taking our own paths.
            Either we are building with God’s materials, of precious stones and jewels and gold and silver, or we are building with wood, hay and stubble, materials that will be burned up in the coming fires.
            Unfortunately, we who call ourselves by Christ’s Name often consume ourselves in living, instead of being willing to die with Christ that we might live with Him.  The death sentence is mandatory to living in Christ.  But it is optional.  Many of us refuse this dying to self, and dying to our own lives, and dying to our own plans and schemes.  Many of us have decided that Christ can be our “Savior” and we can “believe in Jesus” and be “Christians” and be part of His churches, yet live for our own dreams, and march to our own drummers, and build our own towers of Babel.
           
            Some of us are into physical fitness and body building.
            There is One Body, and One Lord of it, and He demands we build His Body first, and devote ourselves to our brothers and sisters above all else.
            Some of us are into building our businesses.
            There is One Kingdom, and our first and primary business as followers of Christ is to build that Kingdom. 
            Some of us are into building a household and family life.
            Every believer in Christ is a member of the Household of God first, and the family of God first, and must follow Jesus even if it means giving up earthly family and household building.
            Some of us are into church building, and ministry building. 
            Scripture instructs us to leave behind our worldly building plans, and to live simply for the Kingdom, living to Christ, dying daily to our own schemes and dreams.  That His Kingdom must come first, and that no other matters.
           
            We can bring nothing through the Narrow Gate of salvation except our own bodies, naked and dead.  The cross takes care of that.
            Are your thoughts today in the heavenly realms with Jesus, or are they consumed with building all your own earthly, worldly goals and ambitions?

            There is a simple test.
            Ask yourself what you think about, and what you pray about.  Ask yourself what you talk about, and what you spend your time on.  Ask yourself what you spend your time building.  Ask yourself if your self and its plans consume you, or if God and His Kingdom and His love and His One Body and His life consume you.
            We must repent if we are consumed with anyone and anything but Christ.
           
            “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
                                                                                                                    --Gal. 2:20

          Each of us must accept our death sentence, in order to find ourselves and our lives in Jesus Christ.  Have you accepted yours, and are you letting God carry out the sentence daily, so that you may have this powerful, new, resurrection life? 
            Remember Lazarus.  If we are truly dead, only Jesus, our friend and Lord, can bring us out of the tomb.  Like Lazarus, we must be raised by the power of God, and not by our own efforts.  It is not about us, it’s about Him.
            

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