Dying to Live

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Of all the ladies I cared for as a private caregiver, Bee was one of my favorites. I loved so many things about her, including her melodramatic manner. When Bee experienced a troubling symptom (that may or may not have indicated something serious), she’d let out a heavy sigh and say, “Well, if I die, I die.”

Bee wasn’t afraid of dying, but she dreaded the process. She, like most of us, hoped that when her time came, she’d die peacefully in her sleep. At 97 years of age, with her great sense of humor and classy never-ending zest for life, Bee didn’t want to suffer a long, lingering death.

I’ve often thought about how much I relate to Bee’s attitude about dying — but in a spiritual sense.

Sin can take such control over our lives. Besides the consequences we ourselves face due to our sinful choices, how many people do we hurt along the way? When we finally decide to forsake sin or an unremitting temptation, we undergo a season of suffering until we finally die to that desire or behavior. But once we die to behavior that isn’t God-honoring (like addictions), sexual immorality, or “lesser” sins (like gossip), we can rise to a different way of living — a much more satisfying way of living. A new life that resembles Christ’s.

Apostle Paul reminds us that when we trust in Jesus’ death and die to sin, we experience new life and the power of a “resurrection like his”:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (Romans 6:4, 5, ESV).

Would we consider confessing to God, who powerfully loves us, a specific area we’re struggling with and ask Him to help us die to it? To help us separate our sinful passions from our hearts that passionately desire to be like Christ? To give us a glimpse of what a resurrection life looks like?

Dying to bad habits or sinful behavior (that, if we were honest, we love) is painful. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a long process, especially when we share our struggle with an accountability partner or small group. These people will help us keep our eyes on our Savior, even when things get worse. A marvelous bond forms when you partner with others who also want to live strong for Christ.

What sin will we finally put to death with the power of the living Christ who dwells within us? What destructive habit will we overcome in Jesus’ name so that we can experience the newness of life we’ve read about in the Bible or heard testimonies about at church? Surely these areas of our lives aren’t worth even a fraction of the joy we will experience once we do.

If we die, we die. But once we’re truly dead to sin, we are truly alive.

Sheryl Boldt
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Sheryl Boldt has been published in numerous print and online publications, including Upper Room, Purpose, Christian Living in the Mature Years, War Cry, and Personal Titanic Moments. She serves as a guest Faith/Church columnist for several newspapers, such as The Tallahassee Democrat, The Wakulla News, and the Tifton Gazette. Read more from her on her blog www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Sheryl lives in Tallahassee, FL.