Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Re-purposing Our Lives for Christ

"Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'"
(Luke 9:23)

When we think about re-purposing everyday items, what all is involved in that task?  Generally, we take an item that has served its purpose and would otherwise find itself on the way to the local landfill.  It's dirty and no longer holds value towards its original purpose.  We can think of ourselves the same way.  Before we commit our lives to Christ the only purpose we have is to fulfill our own desires.  This is a very empty and unsatisfying purpose, which leaves us dirty and on our way towards eternal destruction.

However, just like these everyday items we find new uses for, God has a new use for us.  A meaningful purpose in His kingdom that will lead us to a life in eternity with Him.  But just like re-purposing ice cream buckets, there is a process we must go through if we are going to successfully and effectively re-purpose our lives for Christ.

First, we must clean ourselves out by putting off the old man, and putting on the new.  This process begins when we are baptized into Christ's death and we come in contact with His blood which washes away our sins, preparing us to walk in a newness of life, free from sin.  "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)  Now that our sins have been taken away we must begin to change ourselves.  As Paul wrote to the church at Colosse, "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,..." (Colossians 3:9, 10)  And also to those who were of the faith in Ephesus, "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:20-24)  We must empty ourselves of our old ways of thinking, speaking and doing which were patterned after Satan, and put on new ways of thinking, speaking and doing which are patterned after Christ.

This "change" is not a one-time thing.  It's something we must re-commit ourselves to each and every day.  We must daily seek to follow Christ to the best of our ability.  "Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'"(Luke 9:23)  We cannot let ourselves fall prey to Satan's snares which would draw us back to our former way of living, away from Christ.  We cannot look back!  "Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:60-62)

So, now that we've cleansed ourselves of our sins, put on the new man, and dedicated ourselves to Christ, how do we continue on the straight and narrow?  Putting on the armor of God is a key place to start:

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—"
(Ephesians 6:10-18)

We must also seek to bear the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) and flee the Lusts of the Flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

May we all endeavor to continually live our lives in such a way that we may bear fruit for our Lord, bringing others to Him, and conduct ourselves so that others can see Christ living in us.

This "Think On It" was suggested by my mother, and co-written with my baby sister.

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