On Sunday, one of our elders prayed for the congregation. His prayer was so eloquent and true that I asked him if I could share it here. He was very modest, not wanting to be identified, but he willingly shared. Here is an excerpt of his prayer:
I want to know Christ—yes,
to know the power of his resurrection
and participation in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow,
attaining to the resurrection from the dead
(Phil 3:10-11, NIV).
Lord, we see from Your word and Your Son, Your design is for death and resurrection. True renewal cannot come through our efforts to fix things, but must come from death in You and resurrection in You:
For issues in our marriage…death and resurrection
For troubles with siblings, parents, and children…death and resurrection
For problems with our neighbors…death and resurrection
For challenges in our school or work…death and resurrection
Paul tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17, ESV). But so many times I don’t feel new. I have the same old arguments with my husband. Some days, I wake up to a regular companion, discouragement. And often, I battle the familiar foes of irritability, impatience, and selfishness.
Some days this new life doesn’t feel like rebirth—often our failures feel more like the walking dead, than new life—and death makes us feel defeated. But this prayer reminds us that with every death, Jesus brings the promise of new life.
Knowing Christ Brings New Life
For us to experience new life in Christ, we must die first—die to self. Jesus taught that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). We don’t like the idea of death—it scares us! But without death, there is no new life.
We shouldn’t fear the breakdown of things when Jesus is there to rebuild them. I wonder if sometimes we might need to do some tearing down ourselves, just to get the process started? What if we just give up fighting against those problems we battle daily? What if we surrendered to the truth that WE can’t fix them?
If we quiet our hearts of this dread of death, we might feel comfort in the fact that we don’t have to try to save the sinking ships. At first, what we have to do might seem harder: we have to let go of the sinking ships. Let go of our expectations for the way life is supposed to be.
We have to let go of, “Hey! You don’t get to talk to me like that!!” and find a way to speak truth in love, instead of anger (Eph 4:14).
We have to let go of saying, “I can’t. Not today. Nothing seems possible today,” and remember that though His plan may differ from ours, He enables us to carry it out (Phil 4:13).
We have to let go of putting ourselves first because Jesus said that the last would be first (Matthew 20:16).
As soon as we see stop dreading this “dying to self” and, instead, see Jesus working in our lives—something wonderful happens—we begin to experience Him, in a personal way. Knowing Christ means embracing the death of self. When we die to self, we are walking on holy ground.
Part of me letting go, is letting go of how this blog is supposed to be and what it is supposed to do. Is there anything YOU want me to write about? I would love to hear from you in the comments or by email!