So I went out and mowed my grass today for the first time this spring...or I should say I mowed my weeds. I'm actually not sure if there was a single blade of grass in the entire yard. Now when you have a yard full of weeds there are several strategies you might adopt to remedy the situation: you can decide just to live with them, or you can ignore them and hope they will go away, or you can mow them short and try to make it look like they aren't there, or you can try to get rid of them completely. One of the things about weeds is, that if you decide to adopt the cutting them short strategy, you can actually make your yard look pretty good from a distance. So much so that you really can't tell the difference between the two...I mean they're both green, right? The problem is that weeds have a tendency to spread and, if you allow them to, they will take over your entire yard, leaving the grass no room to grow. Therefore something needs to be done to eliminate the weeds entirely; they have to die in order to make fruitful space for the grass to live. If you just deal with the problem on the surface, you are fighting a losing battle...they will grow right back with a vengeance.
This week I've been reading a lot about dying, and it's necessity in this mysterious journey of living life in Christ. In fact, the subject is all over the pages of Scripture. Whether it's unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single seed...but if it dies it produces many seeds or you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God or we died to sin, how can we live in sin any longer, all of these point to the fact that life in Christ requires something to die in order for something to be raised to new life. In other words, in God's economy, death always precedes, and leads to, resurrection. The point of dying then is not in the dying itself, but in the new life the dying makes room for. The old/false self must die in order to make room for the new/true self to live. My problem comes when I try to adopt the same strategy with the old/false self that I employ with the weeds in my yard. If I decide to just live with it, or to ignore it, or try to cut it off at the surface, or try to make it look better, you can rest assured that the old/false self will not go away, but will grow back just the way my yard full of weeds does. The old/false self must die, I must allow God to kill it completely; to rip it up by the roots. For only when I allow God to mercifully put this old/false self to death will there ever be any room, or hope, for the true/new self to live and to thrive within me.
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