These are the two questions still lodged in my mind from a challenging devotional I recently heard:
– Do you know you are dead? [and] Do you count yourself dead?
Have you meditated on Romans 6:3-8 lately? That we have been “baptized into [Christ’s] death”? That through that death we’ve been “set free from sin”?
Paul wrote Romans 6 to remind his readers that since they’d died with Christ, they should no longer present their bodies as servants of sin. Before Christ – they had no choice, sin was their master. But now, they do have a choice and they must choose to live by the Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I must confess to some moments of wishing I were not dead. That I was free to act in greed, that love was not the new law I live under, that I could seek my own fame. I unfortunately very easily act on those assumptions without much thought.
So the speaker challenged us not only to know we’re dead – but to actively count ourselves dead. When faced with a decision on how to treat an irksome coworker, where to move, what ministry path to take – before any other factor, he said, sit down and remind yourself that you are dead. Your own personal selfish desires, your wants and even your needs, are dead in relation to who God is and what He desires from you. That’s the first thing we must take into account.
I found myself crying after his short devotional. Because I can rather easily know that I’m dead… it is right there in Romans 6, after all. But the counting part? The part where it actually has to affect how I live and respond to temptation and others? That’s hard! It’s hard to even want it!
I guess that’s why I need to be reminded over and over and over about the truths of Romans 6. When I was alive to the desires of sin… “What fruit [was I] getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” (Rom 6:21)
So, for now, on this earth, we die little deaths day by day. Death to self and sin. But in the end? Aha! In the end it’s “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”!
That makes this part so worth the dying!