For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7
Paul had just finished talking about not sinning any more. He talked about how Jesus died to take away all sin. Now he tells believers that they are no longer a slave to sin.
One thing that every person must deal with in this life is sin. Sin has a grip on every person that cannot be individually overcome. Sin is a part of this life for every person. Each person is enslaved to sin, to the point that they cannot help but sin.
However, when a person dies, that changes.
When a person is dead, he is free from the things of this earth. Every concern that a person had when living is no longer a concern. There are no more bills to pay, no more sickness to deal with, no more enemies, no more getting up early for work, no more vehicle breakdowns or anything else in this life. There is also no longer the ability to sin. The person is dead. It is over.
In Christ Jesus, each person who believes in Him, dies. Their character is crucified and dies. With that the old things of this life die with him. The need to sin also dies in the crucifixion.
Once a person dies with Jesus, he is raised again to a new life. That life is no longer bound by sin. There is no longer a reason to sin. All a person has to do is focus on living for God, and the power of sin will go away. Living for God will destroy the need to sin.
Every morning you get up, you must realize that you are rising to a new life in Jesus Christ. Live for God with everything in you. Focus on Him and Him alone. As you do that, the need to sin will go away. You will no longer have the time to sin, because all of your time will be spent on living for God.
You are free from sin. Now all you have to do is live like you are free from all sin. Stay dead to sin, don’t go back into it.
I pray today that you will know the life Jesus has for you; that you will focus on living for God; that you will know the freedom from sin that Jesus provides; and that you be ruled by God alone.
Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13
Paul had been in Caesarea for a time and was ready to leave and go to Jerusalem. Several people warned him that he would be bound up there. Paul said that he was ready to not only be bound, but also die in Jerusalem if needed.
Very few people are really willing to do something, knowing that they will most likely go to jail for it, unless they are a hardened criminal. They do not want to go to jail for doing something good, and usually will avoid it at all costs.
This is not to say how much more they will avoid it, if it may cost their life. Even fewer people want to die for doing something good.
Although most people do not want to go to jail for something good, there are many believers who state that they would be willing to go to jail for Jesus. They state that they are not afraid of anything.
Yet, a lot of those very same people do not go out and be a true witness for Jesus every day. They close their eyes and ears to those in real need. They do not put themselves on the line for getting the gospel message out to people. When they are in line at the checkout counter, they are staring at their phones, rather than talking to the next person about Jesus. Or they are in too much of a hurry to give a helping hand of love to someone in need. They worry about their job position to tell someone about Jesus at their workplace.
If people are not willing to be hated a little, or risk their job, or be a little late in order to tell someone about Jesus, they will not be willing to go to jail or die for Jesus when the time comes.
Take a look at your life and see how much you are willing to do in order to get the message of Jesus to the people around you. How often do you take advantage of every situation to tell someone about Jesus?
Do you bypass opportunities out of fear? Or do you grab them?
How much are you willing to do to tell others about Jesus?
I pray today that God will give you boldness to tell others about Jesus; that you will not fear what may happen as you talk about Jesus; and that many will know Jesus because of you.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
The time for Jesus to go to the cross is getting closer. He is now telling the disciples that He is ready for death. Jesus uses the illustration of a kernel of wheat to say that it must fall and die before it can produce any more wheat.
Regardless of what plant it is, the seed must fall off of the plant and die before it can produce any more seeds. It may be good to have the seed on the tree for a time, but after a while it must die. If it does not die, the plant will not be able to produce any more. If it does not produce any more, then it is extremely limited in how much produce is made.
Jesus knew that in His death, He would be able to reach a lot more people than just the few He could physically reach, walking around and talking.
The world looks at death and dying as failing or stopping. They only see one type of death. Yet, for God, there are three types of death. There is the physical death with the body, the eternal death of separation of God, and death to self.
Jesus did not come to this world for Himself, but for every person. He set the example of dying to self to save the world.
Every believer must choose to die to self. He must put away selfish desires and focus on God and others. Once this occurs, it opens the door to loving others more and reaching more for Christ.
God sees death to self as a person giving Himself to God. It is allowing God to use the person to reach the world.
As a believer you must be willing to die to yourself, just as Jesus died on the cross. Put God and others first in your life as you live your life on this earth. Do what it takes to reach others.
You must lose your personal desires to put God’s desires first in your life. When this happens, God can use you to reach the world. Lose your life and you will produce more fruit. Lose today and gain much more in the end.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will lose your desires to gain God’s desires; that God will use you to reach the lost; and that God will produce much fruit in your life.
When he had said this, Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” John 11:43
Lazarus had been sick and died. Jesus went to his home and everyone wondered why He had not been there sooner to heal Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. Jesus went to the tomb, had the stone rolled away and then called out loud for Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Lazarus did arise and come out.
When people are in a dangerous situation or area, others will tell them to get out or some may call for them to come out of the danger. Most people do not want to see another person in danger. In the case of a house being on fire, everyone calls out for anyone who is inside to come on out as quickly as possible.
During times when there is a hurricane threatening a city, people are told to come out of the city and find shelter somewhere safe. The place that they are in is a place of death or will become a place of death.
Although physical death is a danger, there is a greater death that surrounds many people and most do not even realize it. It is a spiritual death. The majority of the people in the world are in a spiritual grave of death and sin. They are trapped behind a large stone that they themselves cannot remove.
Jesus had the stone removed by His death upon the cross. He now stands outside the tomb of death calling to everyone to come out. They are to come out of a tomb of sin and rebellion. They are to come out of the bondages of the tomb caused by sin. God is calling people to step out of a lifestyle of sin and rejection of Jesus, into an eternal, filled life.
You may be one who has never stepped out of the tomb of death. You may also be one who has went back into the tomb of death and sin.
If you have never stepped out of the tomb into life or you went back in, you must step out to what Jesus has for you. Get up as Lazarus had done and walk out of sin to Jesus. He offers forgiveness and life.
Do not stay in the tomb of death, but come out!
I pray today that you will know the life Jesus provides; that God will help you step out of a life of sin; that you will know the forgiveness Jesus offers; and that you will live for God.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Luke 7:13
As Jesus and His disciples were coming up to a town, He saw a funeral procession occurring. The son of a widow was dead and was being brought out to be buried. The mother was weeping at her loss. Jesus comes up to her and tells her not to cry. He then raises her son from the dead.
Death of someone is something that most people have face at some point in their life. When death occurs, it appears as something final and over. Unless God steps in, there is no life again.
It is a painful time for those who are still alive and a witness of the death. Memories of the person flood the mind. Thoughts about how to move on without that person rise up.
For the majority of people in this world, there is no hope left after a death. Purpose in life seems to come to an end. Joy in life is lost.
God understands death very well, although He Himself has never died. His Son Jesus had died. He knows the pain of losing a son for a time.
However, God does not weep over death. He knows that there is life after death. God has a plan that overrides death in this world.
Believers have something different. Death is never an end or the final say. For every believer that dies there will be a resurrection to an eternal life. The purpose of this life is finally fulfilled as one steps into eternity with God. God overrides the power of death and brings about life.
Along with death, there are many other things that are lost in this life. People often cry over these losses, but God can override every loss. There is purpose and life in Christ Jesus that the world does not understand or have.
When you have a time of loss, of a loved one or something else, turn to God for strength. Seek God for direction in the loss that will honor Him. God will have compassion on you, since He knows the pain of loss.
In the end God has a greater purpose than just losing someone or something. If the person believed in Jesus, you will see him again. He may raise the dead again or replace that loss.
I pray today that God will comfort you in any loss you have had; that you will see God’s purpose in your life; that you will know the gift of salvation to eternal life that Jesus provides; and that you will know God’s compassion for you.
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” Matthew 26:18
Jesus had already predicted His death. As the time for it was drawing closer, the time for the Passover was also arriving. He had determined to celebrate the Passover with the disciples, despite the extreme torture and death He was about to go through immediately afterwards.
Often in life people do not really know what is next in their life. Things come up in their life unexpectedly. One area that does come up unexpectedly, but then becomes a known thing is disease that will lead to death.
Cancer hits a lot of people. At the beginning of it there is a hope of healing and recovery. When the cancer hits stage four, most people lose all hope and are just waiting for death to occur.
At that level, most people give up on life. They shut down and just wait for the unwanted event to occur. All they see is the death that will occur and they no longer live in the joy of the life they still have.
Jesus knew that an extremely painful death was coming for Him. But He also knew that after that time of persecution and death, there would be eternal life. He knew that His death would also bring about life for many. So He continued forward with what needed to be done.
Believers have something to look forward too, even in death. They can look forward to eternal life. Until that death occurs, every believer has a work to do on this earth. There are always more people to be a witness too. There is always the ability to praise and worship God.
You may or may not be going through a life threatening sickness. You may or may not be facing death directly. However, there may be some other large disastrous event you are facing in your life.
If this is the case, do not shut down in fear or despair. Keep going forward worshipping and serving God with all of your life. God is with you and will give you the needed strength to do what needs to be done. Look forward to the hope you have once you are through the situation in this life.
I pray today that you will know the hope you have in Jesus; that you will know the joy you can have in God; that you will always move forward in God; and that you will do the work God has for you to do.