I don’t like the taste of Powerade.
To me it’s just a disagreeably sicky sweet salty taste. I’ll drink water, or diet drinks (yes I know they’re not good for me), or even a chocolate frappacino once in a while.
But I never drink Powerade.
That all changed one Sunday morning.
A few miles into my half-marathon, I approached the first drink station. They were handing out cups of both water and Powerade. Normally, I would have reached towards the water without even a thought. But as I looked at both, suddenly my brain was swinging my arm towards the Powerade. I reached out and took a few swigs as I kept running.
Whoa. It tasted completely different than it had before. It tasted, like, really really good. It was six ounces of blue heaven in a cup.
What was going on? What happened? I couldn’t figure it out. The scientist in me kicked in, and I promised myself that I would run a test and drink water at the next station.
The next station came, and I got ready to enjoy some clean, cold, refreshing water. But instead I got this bleah stuff swirling in my mouth that I knew was water, but somehow it wasn’t refreshing. It didn’t seem to satisfy me. I was no longer thirsty for it.
Still not convinced, I decided to switch back to that drink I couldn’t stand at the next station. And once again, that revolting Powerade tasted like pure heaven to my taste buds.
What happened? Had they changed the taste of Powerade or of water? I knew the answer: the drink had not changed, but the drinker. I was losing calories and electrolytes in the run, and my body was automatically adjusting my taste buds to reflect what I really needed. Because I had changed, what I was thirsty for changed.
That little incident on a street in downtown Knoxville reminds me of one of the most sobering questions I have ever asked myself: What are you thirsty for, John?
This time, I’m not talking about a thirsty body, but a thirsty soul. I look at my soul straight in the face and ask it, “Soul, what are you thirsty for?”
The answer isn’t pretty. So often my soul thirsts for pretty useless stuff– the latest gadget, a little mindless TV, one more piece of pie. And the darker, soul-destroying thirsts of sin are ever present as well. Isn’t it strange that we so often want life out of what we know will actually kill us instead?
I know that if you take an honest look at your own soul you’ll see some ugly thirsts too. That’s part of belonging to the human race, my friend.
So what do we do? How do handle these thirsts within our soul?
There are three options, only three, open to you. The first is to try and quench your thirst with what your soul is thirsty for. Freely indulge that addiction, go for the gusto, live your life pursuing pleasure, or power, or prestige, or peace, or whatever your soul says it needs.
There’s one huge problem with that approach: your soul is not like my body was on race day: it doesn’t know what it should be thirsty for. Our souls have all been warped by our fallenness. If we are willing to take an honest look we can all see it: many foolish decisions, many mistakes, many lives hurt because of our souls being thirsty for the wrong things.
The second approach to the thirsty soul is to quiet it. This is the approach of some religions, that of realizing that soul thirst can never be fully quenched in a fallen world, and so they decide to try and kill thirst instead. If desire inevitably brings suffering, then they say we must eliminate desire.
The problem with this approach is obvious: convincing a man in a desert that he doesn’t need water doesn’t stop him from dying of thirst. Our souls are thirsty. They must drink. Pretending that we have no soul desires is both futile and deadly.
So, if our soul’s thirst can neither be quenched nor quieted, what can we do? The answer lies in what happened during my run: my thirst was changed. What my brain desired was shifted to what my body needed, and the result was a new thirst that was a positive force for my good.
So, how does that work on a soul level? What does my soul really need? What is its “Powerade,” and how can I change my thirst to match it?
Jesus answered this very question, while talking to a woman at a well…
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ( John 4:10-14 )
It’s so simple: the thirst of our soul is meant to be a thirst for the presence of God. No other drink will do. And God in His grace gives us a new thirst for Him when He gives us a new life, and gives us a spring of water in the Holy Spirit.
Think about what the presence of God is for the soul. First, God’s presence is perfect: there is no better nourishment possible for our souls, because God created our souls to receive life from Him.
His presence is also pure: there is nothing evil, nothing harmful, nothing but good to be gotten from God. His presence is powerful: our lives are transformed as we live in Him.
Finally, His presence is permanent. As Jesus said to the woman, those who are Christ’s have a well that will never run dry. God is now always with us, always available to relieve our soul’s thirst, and we shall live in His presence for all eternity.
Perfect, pure, powerful, permanent: God’s gift of His presence in the Spirit is all these things, and a thousand more.
Since my soul is still fallen, I still have these other thirsts, other things that my foolish soul sometimes thinks will give me refreshment. But now I have an answer when I feel the thirst, when my soul asks “What am I thirsty for?”
I simply answer back, “Soul, what are you really thirsty for, down deep, in the spirit God gave you when He gave you a new life?” And I smile, and hear God say, “Drink, my son, drink deep and long of the fountain I have put within you, and be refreshed.”
I had someone email me with a question on what the Bible taught about losing one’s salvation. Of course, I couldn’t think of the question in any ordinary way, and the thought popped into my head, “That’s just like asking about flying pigs!”
“Sweet niblets! How is losing your salvation like flying pigs!? What was he thinking?” Hmm…. What I was thinking was: if you haven’t been taught what a pig is, then the question as to whether a pig can fly is a perfectly reasonable one. But once you really understand what a pig is, you don’t even think to ask the question, because it’s obvious a pig could never fly.
In the same way, many people wonder if a Christian can “lose their salvation”– can stop believing in Jesus or do something evil enough to go to hell. My answer is that once you thoroughly understand what the Bible teaches about what a Christian really is, then the question becomes meaningless— you know that a Christian by their inherent nature could not possibly lose their salvation.
Unfortunately, many people can spend their whole life going to a church without developing a complete understanding of what being a Christian really means. Some believe it means that they have “given their heart to Jesus” or that they belong to a church or that they once prayed for God to forgive their sin. It’s hard to even come up with a good word to use— sometimes we’ll use the terms “Christian” or “born again” or “saved” or “follower of Christ” or “child of God” without stopping to think that each of those terms may mean very different things to different people.
There’s a good reason for the confusion, actually: salvation in Christ is not just one single thing, but many. Salvation is not just having one’s sins forgiven, is not just being granted eternal life, is not just having a personal relationship with God, is not just being adopted as a child of God, and is not just spending eternity with God— it is ALL of those things and many more. God pulls out all the stops and pours on the blessings when he saves a soul. (You can find my chart of the major aspects of salvation here.)
But of all the different facets of what God does for us in salvation, there is one that often gets pushed to the side in our thinking, that of regeneration. Regeneration is the theological term for what Jesus referred to as being born again in John chapter 3. It is God bringing our souls from spiritual death to spiritual life (Ephesians 2:5). Theologian J. I. Packer states, “The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; his old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ.” John Piper in his book Finally Alive writes:
What happens in the new birth is not getting new religion but getting new life. What happens in the new birth is not merely affirming the supernatural in Jesus but experiencing the supernatural in yourself. What happens in the new birth is not the improvement of your old human nature but the creation of a new human nature— a nature that is really you, and is forgiven and cleansed; and a nature that is really new, and is being formed by the indwelling Spirit of God.
When I study the Bible texts about the new birth, it is abundantly clear that this radical transformation and recreation that God gave to me is irreversible; it cannot be undone anymore than a butterfly cannot return to being a caterpillar. I am now spiritually alive: nothing that I did caused it (Ephesians 2:9) and nothing that I do or don’t do can un-cause it. By its very nature it is a glorious eternal change; there is no way it can be “lost.” Praise God, pigs can never fly, and I can never lose my salvation.
It’s a phrase that has been widely misunderstood for two thousand years, since the first time it was spoken:
“You must be born again.”
The new birth, or what theologians call regeneration, is one of the most stunning and crucial realities of the universe, one which every child of God should thoroughlly understand and rejoice in.
But that’s not how it is. Most church goers have vague, incomplete answers to such basic questions as:
What is the new birth?
Why must we be born again?
How does the new birth come about?
What are the effects of the new birth?
How can we help others become born again?
Those are the five questions answered by Finally Alive, a book by pastor John Piper that takes a comprehensive look at what it means to be born again. He lays out his goals for the reader:
When you are truly born again and grow in the grace and knowledge of what the Lord has done for you, your fellowship with God will be sweet, and your assurance that he is your Father will be deep. I want that for you.
If you know what really happened to you in your new birth, you will treasure God and his Spirit and his Son and his word more highly than you ever have. In this, Christ will be glorified.
In the process of believers discovering what really happened to them, the seriousness and the supernatural nature of conversion will rise and that, I pray, will serve a more general awakening of authenticity in the Christian church so that religious hypocrisy will diminish and the world will see real love and sacrifice and courage in the service of Christ.
If you want Bible-saturated, passion-filled answers to what really happened when you became born again, this is your book. It will both inform your mind and ignite your heart in greater love for Jesus and greater desire to see others come to Christ. It is available for purchase or available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from Desiring God Ministries.
As Christians, we have many blessings bestowed on us by God, such as forgiveness of sins, having Christ’s righteousness accounted to us, eternal life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Each of these aspects of our salvation stands on its own in that God could have chosen to give us some, but not all, of these blessings. For instance, God could have chosen to forgive us our sins, but not to give us the additional blessing of the indwelling of the Spirit.
Each individual blessing of our salvation shows God’s love and grace and mercy and glory more sweetly. One blessing that continually astounds me, that makes me marvel at God’s great grace, is that He chose to Adopt us, to declare that we, rebellious sinners, are now children of God. And so Adoption is the A in our continuing acrostic theology series on how we are C.H.A.N.G.E.D. by God.
For anyone who saw or read Ben-Hur, you remember how Judah’s life was changed when he was adopted by the Roman general Quintus Arrius. He went from being a slave, locked in chains and darkness to having unrivaled wealth, power, and influence. Judah’s physical transformation from his physical adoption prefigured his spiritual transformation from his (and ours) spiritual adoption as children of God.
God was not compelled to adopt us by some good that we did or deserved:
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:5)
As the verse above states, God chose before time began that through Jesus he would adopt a people to Himself, purely because of His love and mercy, by “the good pleasure of His will..”
And how do we receive this adoption? How do we become children of God? Purely through receiving Christ by believing Him as Savior and Lord:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (1 John 1:12)
So what difference does this make in our lives? How are we changed because of our new identities as children of God? Let’s briefly look at our new privileges, new responsibilities, and new inheritance as children of God:
Being an adopted son of God means we have the privileges of calling God our Father, of God calling us His children, of God blessing us as His children, and of God disciplining us as His children:
We may call God our Father:
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:9)
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:17)
To be able to address the infinite creator of the Universe as our “Abba”, literally “Daddy” or “Papa”, is an incredible privilege and joy. Yes, He is our God, our Lord, our Master, our King, and yet He also condescends to be our Papa as well. Incredible!
God calls us His children:
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:18)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
What more tender way could we be addressed, what more hopeful name could we be given, than to be called the children of God? In every trial and storm, we should be able to look up and hear God lovingly call us His children.
God blesses us as His children:
What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, wil give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11)
All of God’s gifts to us come from the heart of a perfectly loving Father. We never have to doubt or be concerned about whether we will receive a stone or a serpent— no, our Father only has our good in His heart.
God disciplines us as His children:
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:6-11)
The Lord loves us enough, loves us as His own children, to discipline us. He will not leave us in our selfish immaturity, but will do whatever is necessary, even trials, even suffering and pain, to strip away our self-centeredness until we can perfectly love and enjoy and obey Him.
Along with our new privileges, sonship entails new responsibilities. As sons of our Father we have the honor to obey, imitate, and represent our Father.
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. (1 Peter 1:14-15)
As any Father, God expects our loving obedience to His commands.
Therefore be followers of God as dear children. (Ephesians 5:1)
All of us have stories of children picking up the mannerisms of their parents. So should it be with us: as we spend time in God’s presence we should come to resemble our Father ever more closely. Notice that this is more a heart transformation than mere outward obedience; a rebellious child will still sometimes obey to get what he wants or avoid punishment, but as “dear children” we desire to be followers of God.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
…children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:15)
And what is the goal of our obedience? That we represent our glorious and loving Father, that our good works reflect His grace and transforming power to others.
Lastly, we can rejoice that as children of God we have a new inheritance. We have this new inheritance because God predestined it for us, because we are children of God, and because we are joint heirs with Christ.
Because God predestined it for us:
in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11)
Because we are children of God:
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God. (Galatians 4:5-7)
Because we are joint heirs with Christ:
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer wtih Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)
The Nature of our Inheritance:
And what sort of inheritance has God bestowed on His children? O, we have caught the barest glimpse so far, but the Scriptures promise that is is a kingdom, that it is eternal, and that is will be glorious:
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matthew 25:34)
…that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)
and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:17-18)
May you live as a child of God today, rejoicing in your privileges, mindful of your responsibilities, and looking forward to your inheritance.
Ok, scenario time:
Scenario 1: three people: a Mormon, a Buddhist, and a Christian, all devout, moral people. All lose their beloved spouses in a tragic accident. All are equally overcome with grief and sorrow, yet there is something different with the Christian—a comforting, a peace, that he can’t really explain yet he experiences. What makes the difference?
Scenario 2: Same three people: discussing one of the parables of Jesus and what Jesus meant when He spoke. All three are equally intelligent and equally knowledgeable about the passage in question, and yet the Christian grasps the true meaning of the passage in a way the other two cannot. What makes the difference?
Scenario 3: Same three people: off on a business trip, staying at the same hotel, all three tempted to sexually compromise, all equally desire to remain true to their moral convictions, yet the Christian manifests a power to remain true to his convictions that the others do not. What makes the difference?
This is rubber-meets-the-road theology: we say that a Christian is different, that God has changed us, but do we really mean it? And if we do mean it, then what’s the Bible-grounded reasons, the theology, behind it? And it we know the theology, then are we living out that theology?
The theology I’m talking about with the above three scenarios is not a “what” making the difference, but a “who”— the Holy Spirit indwelling us. This is the second in my series on the nature of salvation, how God c.h.a.n.g.e.d. us and saved us, Holy Spirit Indwelt (that’s the H in c.h.a.n.g.e.d. for those acrostically challenged out there).
There are many fine books on the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work within us and His indwelling (an excellent introduction is God in You : Releasing the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Life by David Jeremiah), but I would like to briefly focus on the above three scenarios that illustrate three very core and very practical aspects of the Spirit’s indwelling.
First, the Spirit is a comforter, a parakletos “one called alongside” literally in the Greek. Jesus knew that during this age while He was not physically present with us that we would need someone to comfort us, to emotionally and spiritually support us while living in this sin stricken world.
Everyone recognizes John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” But what was Christ meaning when he said, “not as the world gives”— how does He give us this comfort? The verse before gives the answer— “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name—” When we have a supernatural need for comfort, like the death of a spouse, God has a supernatural answer— the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The second scenario illustrates the Holy Spirit as teacher. Three times in the gospel of John Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth.” Teaching and guiding us is a pivotal ministry of the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 5:6 the apostle bluntly states, “The Spirit is truth.” Paul says in 1 Cor 2:13 that believers learn “not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches.” God is willing and eager to teach His children, if they but ask (James 1:5), and the channel of that supernatural teaching and understanding is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
But, simply knowing the truth does not change us, does not give us the power to live in holiness, as the third scenario illustrated. Even with our new nature we are but human; our flesh, as Jesus reminded us, is weak. God in His love has given us the Spirit to empower us to live in holiness. Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power for service (when?) when the Holy Spirit indwelt them (Acts 1:8). Walter K. Price writes:
Christian characteristics are never the product of self-effort. They are the fruit of the Spirit. For self-effort can no more produce holiness in the Christian than it can produce a Christian itself. We begin our Christian life in…the Spirit. We are brought to spiritual maturity by means of the same Holy Spirit through His infilling power. It must be clearly understood, then, that one is no more able to live the Christian life in self-effort than he can save himself initially by self-effort. We are enabled to live a life of holiness by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, for he does in us that which we are unable to do for ourselves.
So, where are you depending (or needing to depend) on the indwelling of the Spirit? As your comforter? Where can the Spirit minister to you? As your teacher? Have you specifically asked the Spirit for wisdom in decisions you are facing? As your empowerer? Look to the source of your strength today.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38 ESV)
The apostle John speaks more of life than the other 3 gospels combined. It is one of the central themes he develops, that of true life being in and from Christ. Beginning in chapter 1, verse 3-4, John announces “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
“In him was life”— 4 incredible words. Jesus, as creator and sovereign, both possesses life and gives life.
Then, in Christ’s dialogue with Nicodemus, he teaches the truth we all know by heart, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
But what is the nature of this eternal life? We get a hint of one facet in the next chapter as Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman:
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14 ESV)
Jesus, as He was fond of doing, took something at hand and created a word picture that vividly portrayed spiritual reality. Jesus was offering her something, a “living water” that would become a spring, a fountain welling up to eternal life.
What exactly is this living water? First, it is important to know that in the Greek the word “living” is not an adjective but a verb. It is the difference between saying “hairy man” and “sweating man”— hairy being an adjective simply describes a static attribute of the man, while “sweating” being a verb describes something the man is doing. So this water is active, it is living, you might even say it is giving and producing life.
Much of what Jesus says tracks back to the Old Testament, and so do these words. In Jeremiah 2:13 God accuses Israel of having, “committed two evils: they have forsaked me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
What a rich verse! Israel (and all of us) forsake God, an inexhaustible source of freely flowing life (fountain), and instead we try through our own efforts to store up water for ourselves, even though our efforts our useless (broken cisterns).
Jesus is offering to this woman (and to us), “Look, your life is never going to work through your own efforts— you’ve tried and you’ve seen the results. Turn from that, and I will give you God the Spirit Himself, a fountain of living water, that will create within you eternal life.”
Later, in John 7:38, Jesus goes even further, saying that out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water, and John specifically explains that He is talking of the Holy Spirit. This too points back to the Prophets, particularly Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my bleesing on your descendants.”
What a marvelous blessing the Holy Spirit is, a river in our heart of living water, healing, flowing, constantly available, inexhaustible, powerful, the very Spirit of God present within us. And this living water is not just for our cistern, but we are blessed to be a blessing, this is a fountain, a river, meant for God’s glory as we are able to pour God’s love and wisdom into the lives of others and testify of Him.
Today, meditate on this glorious gift, the river of living water, God the Holy Spirit Himself, flowing out of your heart, both to satisfy your thirst and that of many thirsty souls that God will bring your way.
In The Matrix, Neo is told many things that make absolutely no sense to him (or to us the audience) until later in the movie. One of the pivotal staements is this one by the mysterious “Oracle”:
The Oracle: Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.
The Oracle: Your next life maybe, who knows? That’s the way these things go.
Neo has no idea what “next life” means— it makes no sense to him.
However, at the end of the movie, Neo does die, and out of that death comes life, a life that has energy, power, ability, destiny. It is life on a completely different level than he had thought possible before, life on a higher and broader scale than he even had a category for, but it came only through death.
In a sense, all of us who have experienced the new birth through faith in Christ have a new life on a whole different level. But why do so few feel like it or act like it? There sure was no mistaking Neo was different after he was “born again”:
Part of the reason that we are still living such ordinary lives is simply this: we’re not dying. We are not experiencing life because we are not embracing death. We are not experiencing the power of the resurrection because we haven’t experienced the power of the crucifixion.
We are not taking seriously the words of Christ, “Truly, truly, I say to you, 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 ESV). We seem more comfortable thinking about dying with Christ only in the past tense. And there is an important past tense, finished and done aspect of our death in Christ, but it isn’t meant to end there, to stay a one time past event. Instead, God intends for us to come to it again and again, every day of our lives.
But we like to keep dying with Christ in the past tense, don’t we? Maybe that’s because only thinking of being crucified with Christ in the past tense makes no demand of us: if we don’t have to think about dying today, we know we don’t have to give up anything today, we don’t have to experience any suffering today. But the power to live a supernatural life can only come through death; and not just the death we experienced at the moment of our new birth, but death to self that we must embrace every day, death that will bring us more fully into the reality, present tense, that Paul was talking about when he wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).
Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours…
Embrace the life
That comes from dying…
Embrace the cross
Embrace the cross
The cross of Jesus
(from Embrace the Cross by Steve Green)
We need to fervently pray every day, “God, kill everything within me that is not focused on glorifying Your name!”