Life Through Death

Life Through Death
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:”

– Colossians 3:1-6

One day when I was 10, my dad told me to stay out of his dresser drawers, because there was something in there that he did not want me to see. Oh, how I wish I would have listened to him, but I believed that there must be something pretty interesting in there and thought I was missing out. So, I looked. Inside was his pornography collection. I cannot express how damaging it is to a young mind to learn about sex through pornography. Feelings and emotions that I did not understand awoke in me and my flesh took control. Each day it permeated in my mind a little bit more and experimentation led to sexual addiction. My life was ruled by a dark secret that I was too ashamed to share. My peace and self-confidence died, and I felt alienated from others and from God.

Thank God that He never gave up on me. When Jesus saved me and I was baptized, I died to the flesh. I was delivered from pornography, sexual addiction, and the psychological issues that came with it, and I was given new life in the Holy Spirit. Now, I am not saying that this change was instantaneous, for I do not want anyone to grow discouraged if they are struggling with sin. What I can say is that God gives us victory no matter how impossible that may sound. I testify that Jesus has renewed my mind, my heart, and has given me a new life with a purpose.

In our text, we are called to set our minds on "things above" and to die to fleshly deeds, which it proceeds to name. We can choose each day to walk by the Spirit and fill our minds with God's word, or we can set our minds on and feed the flesh. Jesus said to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it (Luke 9:23b-24).” Here we see what is called the paradox principle. It seems crazy to our fleshly minds, but it is the only way to true life: We are to die to truly live.

Have you ever noticed that the more we attempt to enjoy life according to our culture's standards – sex, occupational status, money, drugs, alcohol – the more miserable we become? The more we feed the flesh and its desires, the more it controls us. The world's standards hold us in misery and bondage while biblical truth brings freedom, joy and peace. We all have struggles in life, whether it is drug, alcohol, or sexual addiction, or a tendency to judge others and gossip. Jesus Christ has given us victory. It all comes down to the next thought and decision. Will we sow to the flesh or the Spirit? If we choose to die daily and choose to live by the Spirit, we will have freedom from all that held us captive. Our minds will be renewed as we fill them with God's word, and we can claim all of His promises.

Jesus said that "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10)." We are not commanded to die to our flesh in order to deny us a good life, but that we might truly live.

Living by the culture's standards is not pleasant. It brings captivity and hopeless misery where we want to hide in shame. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (see John 14:6). He gives us hope and freedom, where we cry out in victory. Jesus paid our debt so that we can be overcome by His grace. His love flows through us to a lost and hurting world, for we are risen from the dead.