Dying to Live




During one year in my early days as a believer I participated in a small group who worshiped God to the accompaniment of a guitar and a banjo. The song that will always resonate with me from that time was a rip-roaring rendition of Colossians 3:1-3. At the top of our lungs and with all the gusto we could muster we belted out, "Ye are dead, Ye are dead; Ye are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God!" I wonder if, in the exuberance of our singing, I ever stopped to think about those words.

In the years that have intervened between those days and these, one of the most profound lessons the Holy Spirit has taught me is that Christianity is not primarily about good and bad, but about living and dying. God has not been asking me to work hard to be good and to work hard not to be bad. He has been asking me to be willing to die* so that He may be the One living in me.

One day I ran across an interesting definition in a footnote for Leviticus 27:28 in my NIV Bible. Later I found the same definition applied to Deuteronomy 20:17 and Joshua 6:17,18 and 21. With reference to the word devoted it said, "The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them."

In Galatians 2:20a Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

To be dead. To be devoted. To be crucified. Not really so different after all. And, after all, something to sing about--exuberantly!


*Romans 6:6-7 (NIV) "For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."