Aside Posted on Updated on
Galatians 5:1, 13, 16-18, 25 (NAS): It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery…you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh…But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another…if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Also in Matthew 16:24-25, we read, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself…’” To utterly deny one’s self is death. In short, “dying” in this sense is not physically dying and going to be with the Lord in heaven, but rather it is a spiritual term. It means sacrificing all of self to the point of self being completely obsolete so as to be filled with and directed by the Spirit of the Living God.
The success of anyone’s walk with God here on earth is contingent upon the reality of these two conditions:
1. Christ is in my life
2. Christ replaced my life.
Some would argue these are the same, but I assure you that the difference is paramount – its bondage vs. freedom. I’ve lived both ways and, now that Christ has replaced my life, I have total freedom instead of perpetual bondage of the Law. The problem with condition one is that there are two lives warring for power in one residence; everyone knows that war is exhausting!
Condition two is peace. It is the recognition and acceptance of the death of self (fleshly nature) and, in such death, the person is emptied and available to receive the full life of Christ and allow Christ to do all that needs doing in the earth through them. The former is constant struggling and the latter is perpetual peace. If anyone desires to be at peace regardless of the circumstances of life, choose the latter.
Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow Him; aka death to the nature of the flesh (Adam’s nature). Time and time again Christ followers are instructed to die to self. Just as Jesus died physically, the spiritual representation here is undeniable. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, yet He commands those who follow Him to take up the same cross, only in a spiritual sense. We are to do as He – die to self that God may rule.
Since we are all born physically into Adam’s sinful nature, the only way to expunge the tainted blood is to die. Once we die, we can then have a new life; no one can live two lives simultaneously. We must give up our “life” (all the desires the flesh/natural man) while dwelling in human form so as to become the physical manifestation of Jesus over and over. Romans 8:13 plainly states, “if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
This is not a suggestion! Either our natural man is active (though technically dead), or the Spirit of God in us is alive. Only one life can rule. It’s imperative to understand what God requires of us so as to effectively expand the Kingdom of God here on earth; after all, that is our heavenly assignment as ambassadors in Christ.
We must daily die to self and allow Christ through Holy Spirit to be our actual life. It’s the difference in Christ’s life taking residence in a part of our lives (carnal Christianity) and Christ replacing our life (spiritual intimate relationship). The latter is where Christ calls us. Let’s read I Corinthians 15:
I Corinthians 15:31-32, 35-36, 42-44, 49 (NAS): I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me?…But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies… So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body… Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
Verse 49 well expresses it: we were born earthly, but bear the image of the heavenly. Once in Christ, we instantaneously cease being of the human race (earth) and become of the heavenly race (Kingdom of God). In this, we must understand that God does not want to “change” our lives, rather He wants us to willingly “exchange” our lives for His.
We’ll pick up here next week! If you are interested in reading more, check out my website to order my books, or go to my Facebook ministry page where I post regularly. Blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf