26 Apr I Must Die
Read: James 4:13-17
Last Sunday, special guest, Keith Smith, encouraged us from Nehemiah 6:1-16 to remain committed to God’s specific assignments in our lives. This Sunday, Pastor Jeremy Chasteen will preach a message on submitting to God’s will from James 4:13-17. As you prepare your hearts for our corporate gathering, let these words from Milton Vincent lead you to the cross of Christ, where Jesus submitted to the will of God even unto death. May we join him there in submission to God through dying to ourselves that we may truly live in the resurrected Christ!
The gospel is not simply the story of “Christ, and Him crucified”; it is also the story of my own crucifixion. For the Bible tells me that I, too, was crucified on Christ’s cross. My old self was slain there, and my love affair with the world was crucified there too. The cross is also the place where I crucify my flesh and all its sinful desires. Truly, Christ’s death and my death are so intertwined as to be inseparable.
God is committed to my dying every day, and He calls me to that same commitment. He insists that every hour be my dying hour, and He wants my death on the cross to be as central to my own life story as is Christ’s death to the gospel story. “Let this same attitude be in you,”He says, “which was also in Christ Jesus . . . who became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”
Crucifixion hurts. In fact, its heart-wrenching brutality can numb the senses. It is a gasping and bloody affair, and there is nothing nice, pretty, or easy about it. It is not merely death, but excruciating death. Nevertheless, I must set my face like a flint toward the cross and embrace this crucifixion in everything I do.
I should expect every day to encounter circumstantial evidence of God’s commitment to my dying; and I must seize upon every God-given opportunity to be conformed more fully to Christ’s death, no matter the pain involved.
When my flesh yearns for some prohibited thing, I must die. When called to do something I don’t want to do, I must die. When I wish to be selfish and serve no one, I must die. When shattered by hardships that I despise, I must die. When wanting to cling to wrongs done against me, I must die. When enticed by allurements of the world, I must die. When wishing to keep besetting sins secret, I must die. When wants that are borderline needs are left unmet, I must die. When dreams that are good seem shoved aside, I must die.
“Not My will, but Yours be done,” Christ trustingly prayed on the eve of His crucifixion; and preaching His story to myself each day puts me in a frame of mind to trust God and embrace the cross of my own dying also.
“All Things Crucified, Part I,” in A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Song List for Sunday
1. “When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor),” Arr. by Shane & Shane
2. “Cornerstone,” Arr. by Shane & Shane
3. “Trust You,” Arr. by Shane & Shane
4. “Nothing but the Blood,” Arr. by Charlie Hall