Wednesday, January 1, 2020 -
In the past few hours, we have seen 2019 die – end forever. Yet a new year has begun, being birthed anew and afresh. For something to begin anew, something must die. A seed sown does not sprout to new life unless it first dies, as Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:36, “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies.”
This truth is a reality for us believers as well. If there is one thing that has been placed in my conscience in more clarity than ever before because of my months in prison, it is this. In order to be truly alive and bear fruit, I must die first. Not only did Christ die for me, but I must die to myself! This means I must die to my own will and my own aspirations and desires, and accept God’s plan and desires for me, and I must die to sin and its lure.
This began at salvation, I know when I determined it was not my own works nor my own efforts that provide an abundant life and a clean heart, but “according to the power of God who saved us with a holy calling, not according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Timothy 1:8-10).
Indeed, God has abolished death in a physical sense for those who have repented of their sin and accepted the Lordship of Christ. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22).
Indeed, when I die to myself, I allow Christ to live in me. The latter is conditional upon the first. As Paul so aptly states in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live by faith in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” This, I believe, is what Paul means when he tells Timothy in II Timothy 2:1, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” For to be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus means the constant realization that I must die to myself – a lifelong process – and trust Christ to do His will and His work through me so that I might show forth the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
As my time in prison has now spanned from 2018, all through 2019, and now into the third calendar year, I thank God for what He has revealed to me, and that through this ordeal He has likely hastened this process in me. Praise be to our Creator in Heaven – who has made all things and sent His only Son to bear my penalty – and through His death, has enabled new life in me!