Wanted: Dead [and] Alive

by Lester Young

What would you rather be, dead or alive? On the surface, seems like a pretty stupid question, doesn’t it? But then when have you ever known me to just let things stay “on the surface”?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to be both – at the same time. In fact, as born-again Christians we’re commanded by God’s Word to do so. Romans 6:11 tells us that we should “consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (New American Standard). Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

In actuality, it is simple: there’s nothing truly complicated about it. Have you ever heard the phrase “You’re dead to me!”? It means the speaker has totally cut another person (or thing) out of their life: they’ll never speak, hear or acknowledge them ever again – in other words, he or she intends to treat that entity as though they actually do not exist, and will consider them no longer to be worthy of so much as a response of any kind. Simply put, it’s blatant “ignoring to the nth degree” and, as such, can be regarded as the highest level of disrespect.

Oddly enough, that’s just the attitude we’re supposed to have. Look with me at Galatians 6:14 (Easy-to-Read Version): “Through Jesus’ death on the cross the world is dead to me, and I [likewise] am dead to the world.” We’re supposed to look at the world and tell it, “You’re dead to me!” Not the people of the world, mind you, but the ways, attitudes, thinking patterns, thoughts and sins of the world. When they come to tempt or stand against us, we’re to disrespect them to the nth degree by totally disregarding them. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

In actuality, it is simple – in practice, however, it’s not particularly easy. Hey, you know the old saying: “If it were easy, everybody’d be doing it.” As a matter of fact, to be totally honest, in the natural it’s downright impossible. But that’s the point: in Christ Jesus we’re not limited to just our natural capabilities. We have Jesus’ very own Anointing strengthening us from within to stand against the world’s pressures (Ephesians 3:16-19; Colossians 1:11). That Anointing is precisely what gives us the ability to be totally unresponsive to sin but at the same time alive – or fully responsive – to God.

If you’re born again, that Anointing is already in you – whether you feel like it is or not (Romans 8:9-11). Remember, it’s not based on your feelings, it’s based on God’s Word and your faith in that (2 Corinthians 5:7). So acknowledge the truth of what He’s said you already have: agree with it in your thoughts and words (Philemon 1:6; Mark 11:22-23; John 6:63, 17:17; Romans 8:6; Galatians 3:27). Then make the firm decision to stop letting your body be used by sin for unrighteousness. In other words, when the temptation to sin calls, just disrespect it completely by simply not bothering to respond at all – because “it’s dead to you!” And on the flip-side, when God tells you to do something – whatever it may be – just respond to Him quickly and do it! (Romans 6:13; John 2:5)

Dead to sin but alive to Him: that’s exactly how the Lord wants you.

 

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