Week 1: The New You
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:11-14
It’s the new year and we all think about what this year could have in store for us. Whether you write down and proclaim new year’s resolutions or not, I’ll bet you at least consider some changes. Some of the changes are minor that include diet and time management, but some of the changes we consider are often pretty significant. I hope and pray that you have thought about your relationship with The Lord and what this year will be like. As a church this year, we are focusing on “deepening our relationship with Jesus.”
That means some things in our individual lives will need to change. We will mostly likely need to dial in certain aspects and dial out others. To DEEPEN our relationship with Jesus it will require more than activities and resolutions. It will require a change in our mindset. Let me say it this way: YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THE THINGS YOU USED TO DO BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON THAT YOU USED TO BE. That’s what Romans 6:11-14 is all about.
It is about identity that drives the way we live. The changes that we need to make are not to make us better people but to align our lives with the life we have in Christ. One of my favorite illustrations of this truth is found in John 11:17-44. It’s the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after four days. If you are not familiar with the event, take a minute and read the passage to familiarize yourself.
Jesus shows up on the scene of a family grieving the loss of their brother. Jesus joins them in their grieving and then does the unimaginable. He walks up to the tomb that held the dead body and says, “Lazarus, come out.” And to the delight and surprise of everyone (except Jesus, he obviously wasn’t surprised), Lazarus came hopping out. The reason I say that he came “hopping out” is because he would have been wrapped in about 100 pounds of burial clothes and spices. They would wrap the body in cloth with spices and perfumes to lessen the odor of the decaying body. So when Lazarus comes out of the grave alive, he is still wrapped in the burial cloth.
The Bible says:
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:44
Why did Jesus tell him to take of the grave clothes? Well, it is obvious. Lazarus is alive and living people don’t wear dead men’s clothes. Did you know that if you’re a believer in Jesus then the same is true of you?
If you are alive in Christ then you are DEAD to the old you and the old ways in which you use to live. This is why I say YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THE THINGS THAT YOU USED TO DO BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON THAT YOU USED TO BE.
So ask yourself…
“What are the things in my life that just don’t fit anymore?”
“What grave clothes do I need to take off because they just don’t fit me any longer because I am alive?”
May this new year be the year that the new you walks in the newness of life by taking off the grave clothes and dressing yourself in Christ.
Pray and ask God to reveal to you what changes need to be made and what grave clothes (old habits and activities) need to be discarded.