“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
“Please don’t spill the fishy crackers.”
I asked nicely. So nicely that I began giving myself a figurative pat on the back. My young children and I were rushing around and running late again, yet I graciously agreed to open the giant container of brightly colored crackers we’d just picked up at the store.
Within minutes, I heard the sound all mothers dread — the horrible sound of tiny food particles exchanging their container’s safety for the freedom found in every crack and crevice of the car floor. Visions of a million crushed, orange crumbs filled my head with steam.
At that moment, I had a choice: continue as a patient “model mom” or let all the emotions of my flesh tumble out in the form of harsh rebukes, lectures and sighs meant to send a message. I’d love to tell you I chose wisely — but this time, I found myself apologizing to my children.
These moments are so challenging, aren’t they? One minute, we’re going along just fine. The next minute, we run head-on into a situation that forces our hand. Will we respond in the flesh or in the Holy Spirit?
Whether you’re a mom or not, we all face this choice on a regular basis. It could be that competitive coworker who ruffles your feelings of self-worth. Or a friend’s careless comment that pokes at a tender place in your heart. Even the random clerk at the grocery store can crash into our happiness when the line isn’t moving fast enough.
So often, these situations reveal a disconnect within our hearts: We’re Jesus-loving gals, but we don’t always respond as Jesus would. We gladly accept being born again into His family, but we’re less quick to acknowledge the flip side: the fact that we must die to ourselves in the process.
Accepting Christ’s gift of salvation means we also agree to lay down our rights, pride and illusory sense of control. Ouch. It is, indeed, a death.
The Apostle Paul wrestled with this reality too, and in the book of Galatians, he gives us a beautiful roadmap for handling the tension:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Paul reminds us that though we still live in our fallen, fleshly bodies, Christ’s death has broken sin’s hold on us. Because of His sacrifice, we’re no longer at the mercy of our natural, knee-jerk reactions — now we can choose to act out of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
And while that choice proves excruciatingly difficult sometimes, let’s not forget that Jesus empowers us in the heat of every ruffled moment. Just like Paul, you and I face each day with resurrection power coursing through our veins!
The Savior who laid down His life will strengthen us as we go and do likewise. He’s with us when we bite our tongues so hard they bleed. He’s with us when we celebrate others instead of tooting our own horns. He empowers us when we’ve been hurt and want to lash out in anger but choose kindness instead.
And He forgives us even when we don’t choose wisely. Whenever I see a fishy cracker, I’m thankful for this grace!
Dying to self is no easy task. Yet when we do it, we find ourselves reborn into love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control — the fruit of a life lived in step with the Holy Spirit.
Today, let’s follow our Savior’s lead and choose death to self that we may walk in His glorious life.
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice that freed us from bondage to self and sin. Today help us choose to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring gospel life to those around us. May we bring You glory today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Romans 6:6, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (ESV)
Where in your life do you find it most challenging to “die” to self? How might that situation or relationship look different if you responded in the power of the Holy Spirit?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.
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