Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3
Just like we make a million right choices if we really want to live right, we also have to die a million deaths. There’s no way to have a good life while holding onto old and bad ways of living.
When I started attending the church across the street, I bought a shirt that said, “I left it in the water.”
I liked the saying even though I didn’t know the Bible verse it came from or that it meant I had to die to live again. I know, I should have already memorized Matthew 28:19.
Here it is from the Amplified Bible, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, …”
When we’re baptized, we die to our old lives that are all about us – we leave those lives in the water. The past is the past, what’s done is done, forgive and forget. All those good sayings and all that bad stuff … in the water.
We’re free to live a different and better life.
In the past’s place, we choose to be like Jesus. Bracelets are fine that say, “What would Jesus do?” but we have to genuinely live like He lived to be like Him and fulfill our purpose in Matthew 28:19. We have to die to who we were and be born again (change) to be more like Him. This happens with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Like I said before, though, the things I needed to leave in the water seemed too noble to die to including marriage and family. Even though the idea of being like Jesus tugged at me, living my life my way tugged harder.
Since I’m not only a “try harder-er,” but also a “hanger on-er,” I have something to die to every single day even if it’s just staying up late or procrastination or sugar.
I say “just” like these are no big deal. All three have brought me to my knees. I’ve left them in the water again and again, but resuscitated them because no one likes dying, right? Right along with the other million things in my life that need to stay dead, they should have a do-not-resuscitate order.
And just (there’s that word again) when I think everything I need to die to is already dead, another thing shows up that I’m worshipping besides God.
My husband and I recently made a financial decision that I thought was his lesson because he needed to let go of impressing people with money. It wasn’t until I had to leave the security I get from money in the water – die to trusting money to keep me safe over God keeping me safe – that I recognized my lesson. Again, my security seemed (to me) a nobler thing to seek than my husband seeking materialism, but both needed to die.
I keep thinking dying to myself will come to an end and I’ll finally be able to fully live. But writing this makes me think the only way to fully live is to die to myself daily – a million deaths that bring me back to life.
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because these blog posts are a manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. My blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is the subheading. I’m over-the-top grateful to have you here. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and comments.