Jesus died, so we could choose to lay down our lives.
This is a bit of a different way of looking at things. Didn’t Jesus die so that we could have life? In John 10:10, Jesus tells us this, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Our human nature does not give us life to the fullest, but instead, a life of sin. Yet, Jesus calls us to repent. Repenting is not only recognizing and admitting to our sins, but turning away from them. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” When we repent, we deny ourselves and turn towards a life for God.
Sometimes, we may not feel the need to face this idea of repentance, especially if we haven’t experienced something that makes us see a need to turn away from our current lifestyle. When I was asked to share a personal story on this topic, I struggled a bit. I can’t think of a singular, life-changing moment where I consciously turned towards a life for God. But that is my story, and I think it’s a relatable one for many.
I still struggle with repentance though—every day. I still feel the pull of my human desires turning me away from God. I still struggle with defining my worth by how great of a hair day I’m having, look at others with judging eyes rather than an open heart, and grasp on to maintaining control of my life, rather than fully submitting myself to God. I must deny myself daily.
Jesus saves us by allowing us to deny ourselves and be born again into a life for the Lord. In John 3, Jesus speaks to a Pharisee about what this means: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Denying ourselves and being born again for God can be pretty tough, though. 1 John 5:4 encourages us, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.”
When I was about ten, I felt ready to be baptized. And let me tell you, this was the best moment of my life. As my dad lowered me into the baptistery, he declared that I was “buried with Christ.” And as he lifted me out with the words, “and raised to live again,” I felt weightless. A huge smile came over my face and goosebumps covered my body. Nothing since has compared. God had truly allowed me to “overcome the world.”
We struggle daily with little things, and that’s okay. In Luke 5:32, Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." He calls us to recognize that we are sinners, but to continue to turn to God. And when we do this, when we allow ourselves to be born of God, we overcome the world.
Beverly & The Accordion CD Release Party at Sidecar