My life. Your Life. His Life. Her life. That‘s how we sound. We talk about life like we own it. “It‘s MY life and I will live it as I please”.     Really? I hate to wreck your day but, you own nothing. We arrive on this earth with zilch and on our departure, no checked baggage. Do you want to experience true freedom? Try self denial.

Hello?   Anyone left in the room?   Best to avoid this subject. After all, it‘s more fun to sin. Why do you think we do it so much?

We arrive on this earth with zilch and on our departure, no checked baggage

For those of you still with me, Jesus put it this way,

23  “If anyone wants to follow me, he must give up himself and his own desires. He must take up his cross every day and follow me.” Luke 9:23 New Living Translation

The New Testament writer Paul also shared a few thoughts on this subject as well,

1 “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” Romans 12:1 New Living Translation

19 “Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. 20 God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New Life Version

Interesting.   True worship is becoming a living sacrifice. I am to yield myself to God. But why? Because he purchased us and we belong to Him. God sent Jesus to earth to “seek and save” his lost creation. It‘s called the plan of redemption which included the sacrificial death of Jesus by crucifixion and His subsequent bodily resurrection. Death was the price He paid to get us back. But death could not hold Him and He arose from the grave as our immortal leader. His death satisfied the claims of eternal justice and opened an entry point to everlasting life in the spiritual dimension which the Bible refers to as Heaven.     Sounds like a movie plot. But this is no fantasy.     Turning once again to the Bible, Paul wrote to the Galatians,

20 ”My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation

Old self? Yes, that stumbling, fumbling, mumbling, bungling wretch of a person that we all once were (and, in some respects, still are) was vicariously put to death with Jesus on that ancient cross. The Spirit of Christ now lives in us. Christ in me is my hope. Christ at work thru me is my new life.     The paradox is that while my life is no longer my own, I still make choices every day that affect how I live it. This is where we need to proceed with caution; living daily with a sense of amazement and accountability. Think about it, God gave us a “do-over” through redemption. We now have an opportunity to respect God by obedience to His will. Look what Paul wrote to the Philippians,

12  “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:12-13 New Living Translation

  Living with the “attitude of gratitude”

Demonstrating the “result of our salvation”, as Paul put it, can be seen in the way we behave. Some refer to the Christian life as living with the “attitude of gratitude”. God saved me from the damnation I deserve, set aside the penalty for all of my failures and covered me in His own blamelessness. In return, out of an attitude of gratitude, I happily surrender my own egocentric and self-serving motivations to Him. I will still struggle with wanting to exercise my own will every day. Selfishness doesn’t magically disappear. Admittedly, I have some good days and then there‘s the rest of the time.     But God is at work within me. If you are a Christian, He is working in you too. God is helping you obey Him by giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose.

Living uninhibited in the will of God is very hard. That is why we are admonished to work out our recovery one day at a time. There will be costs. We will face many difficult choices. And yes, there will also be losses. But God is within us. He is working out all of the details – for our good! Never forget the promise that Jesus Himself made to all of his followers:

29-31 “I promise you, nobody leaves a home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property for my sake and the Gospel‘s without getting back a hundred times over, now in this present life, homes and brothers and sisters, mothers and children and land though not without persecution and in the next world eternal life. But many who are first now will then be last, and the last now will then be first.” Mark 10:29-31 J.B. Phillips Translation

Bountiful blessings from your Under Construction brother…

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®  
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656

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