Romans 6:4 “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.”
I feel that all too often we, as Christians, take certain parts of scripture and then ignore other parts. We like to talk about the fact that we are raised from the dead by the glory of the Father…through Christ. But, we forget that before there can be a resurrection there must be a death. If not, what are we raising from? We can’t raise to life from life…can we? No, we must first experience a death.
Before there can be a resurrection there must be a death
Luke 9:23-24 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Jesus walked willingly into His death. His life wasn’t taken from Him. He offered His life as THE sacrifice FOR us. We must TOO walk willingly into death. Now, I am not talking about suicide. I am not encouraging you to go jump off a bridge. But, I am encouraging you to offer your FLESH as a willing sacrifice on the alter to be burnt by the holy fire of God. I am talking about, as Pastor Nick discussed this last week, going ALL IN. What do you think He means by “take up your cross…”? How did carrying the cross end for Christ? Death. It means daily submitting and surrendering all that you are to HIM.
Leesa and I love the show Parks & Rec. Ron Swanson is awesome. There was one scene where he had fasted all day just because he was going to get to eat his favorite steak that evening. He wasn’t able to as the restaurant closed so he went to a diner and asked for all the bacon and eggs that the restaurant had. The waiter nodded and said ok. Ron stops him and says “I’m afraid what you heard me say is that I want a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was I want all the bacon and eggs you have..” I wonder if Jesus ever does this to us. “I’m afraid what you heard was I want most of your heart. What I said was I want all of your heart”. Too many of us go SOME IN. MOSTLY in. (Did any Princess Bridge fans hear it? mostly dead, :D) We keep one foot out so we can experience the things we WANT. When, Jesus calls us to go ALL IN. He wants all the bacon and eggs we have. All our thoughts. Weakness’. Strengths. Abilities. Time. Energy. He wants it all. Yes, you work jobs and have families. Not 100% of your energy can be 100% on talking to God. But, you get what I’m saying. Are you chasing after Him? Or are you picking and choosing when it is convenient for you to call on Him?
Guys, the most intense worship we can offer God will always cost us SOMETHING. Stepping out of your comfort zone. Giving up something dear to you. Exchanging time spent on certain things. The possibility of looking foolish. Right? But, the things that matter most to us in life cost us as well. Usually in the form of money. It’s no different in our faith. You want to live your life in the SPIRIT? Your flesh cannot have a say. If you want to live your life covered by the Spirit? You cannot be aiming to please your flesh. Either Go ALL IN or not at all. We are living in tough times and a luke warm faith will cool off VERY quickly. It’s why so many people are falling from their faith. These are people who didn’t have any interest in going ALL IN. If you are standing at the cliff about to jump and you have no idea where you’re jumping or why. You will most likely back off from the ledge. Am I wrong? But, if you have the assurance of who, what why, you are jumping then there is a confidence to take the leap. Jesus is asking us to leap. Nick talked about:
Who Jesus is
Why Jesus came
What that means for us
So, what do you choose today?
Are you going to choose to go ALL IN? Are you going to jump? Or are you going to shy away from the ledge in fear? Are you holding on to things: pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, lust, time spent on hobbies, time spent on your phone, etc. What keeps you from going ALL IN? What keeps you from experiencing the death the needs to happen? Death is uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be scary. Again, not talking about physical death. But, this means us giving it ALL to HIM. Taking up your cross and following Him. You can’t give 100% of yourself to more than one thing. So, give 100% of yourself to God. Stop pretending that you can give God part of your heart and mind and soul. He wants it all.
My challenge to you is this. Really evaluate what is keeping you from going all in. Are you at the place where you are willing to CHOOSE Jesus and the Spirit over your flesh? If so…..
~ Jerod Rains