The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
2 Timothy 2:11 (ESV)
To die with Christ not only means a death to sin, but also a denial of self. Jesus death was consummated on the cross, but his obedience unto death began much earlier. Though being God, Jesus humbled himself to be born in the likeness of man to be God’s servant in reconciling the creation with its creator (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).
Jesus lived every moment to do what the Father was doing, say what he heard from the Father, and do his Father’s will (John 5:19; 5:30, 8:27-28). His devotion and complete obedience didn’t wane even when his time to die was at hand. The night before his crucifixion be prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 ESV)
The apostle Paul lived his life this way following his conversion. He wrote, I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! (1 Corinthians 15:31 ESV) Paul said that he always carried about in his body the death of the Lord Jesus and that we who live are always being given over the death for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:10-11). To Paul daily dying meant a life of suffering for the sake of the gospel. It meant a life of being willing to spoken ill of, enduring hardships, being beaten, stoned and eventually martyred for the sake of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). [Though not mentioned in scripture, history has it that Paul was beheaded.]
Paul could confidently write to the Galatians, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)
During his life Jesus preached a denial of self and complete obedience to the Father. And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me,let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 ESV) To deny ourselves and take up our cross means to renounce or reject something that is desired or valuable in order to follow Christ and do his will. Denying ourselves is a daily dying to our comforts, security, and reputation as well as other things we deem precious. We are to deny ourselves the right to live our lives our own way. In fact, it is conceding that our lives are not ours to live. Paul wrote, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)
The cost is worth asking ourselves the questions, “Do I treasure Christ more than the things I deem as precious? Have I conceded that my life is not mine to live as I desire? Have I taken up my cross (a symbol of death and sacrifice) to fully obey the will of God?
Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Corinthians 9:24-27