A Time To: Life & Death

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Time To: A Whole Teens Mini-Series
September 12: A Time to be born and a time to die, Ecclesiastes 3:2a

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born, and a time to die....” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a)

When I think of birth, I think of the celebration of new life and the joy that comes with it. I think of a beautifully new and innocent creation. I think of how proud the father and mother must be as they stare into the brilliant eyes of their new child.

Physical birth is an amazing image of our spiritual rebirth. In John 3:3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus was utterly confused by this statement. He wondered how in the world he could be born again, but his mind was set on physical rebirth. Jesus spoke about a spiritual rebirth that allowed a person to pass from death and darkness to life and light. 

In simple terms, a spiritual rebirth means accepting Jesus into your heart. It means admitting that you are a sinner, who has turned against the Lord, and deciding to turn back to His holy and redemptive love. It means trusting that Jesus died on the cross for all of humanity’s mistakes and believing that He rose from the dead, allowing us to experience true forgiveness and peace with God.

Rebirth is a massive celebration of new life because God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ephesians 2:5). Because of Christ’s sacrifice and our decision to accept His wonderful gift, we can become a beautifully new and innocent creation. After being born again, we are considered holy and righteous in the presence of the Lord because the blood of Christ covers and cleanses us. Our spiritual rebirths adopt us into the family of God and He looks into our eyes with the pride and joy of a loving Father.

If you haven’t experienced this joyous rebirth yet, now is the time. It’s never too late to start over and accept the marvelous salvation of the Father. If you have already been born again, now is the time to lead others into the same new life. There are so many lost people out there still living in death and darkness, and the Lord wants to use his followers to help bring them into His life and light.

But along with birth and new life, there is also a time to die. Death doesn’t sound as appealing as life does, but it’s something that we, as Christians, are also called to experience daily. 

Everyday, we must choose to die to ourselves, so that the life of Christ may be glorified.

Dying to ourselves means giving up our own wants and desires so that God can work in and
through us. When we die to ourselves, we don’t often experience the fame and glory we desire, but the reward we do receive is so much greater. We’re able to see the Lord using us to bring others to Him and experience the peace and joy of resting in His arms. 

The Lord’s plans for us are far better than our own, so when we surrender our own aspirations, God will bring about something much better. The road to surrender is not always the easiest, but it’s the best road we can choose to travel.

My youth pastor told my church once that we should live our lives for Jesus, deciding to die daily and choose Him. There’s a difference between living like and Jesus and living for Jesus. We must either choose Christ or choose ourselves: there is no middle road. Ironically, dying to ourselves and surrendering to Christ gives us the greatest satisfaction of life and freedom.

What does it look like to die daily to ourselves? According to my youth pastor, it means waking up every morning and saying, “Lord, I am dying to myself today and I choose you. What do you have for me?” Then, we must listen to the Holy Spirit’s tugging on our hearts and follow through with what He wants us to do.

Sometimes dying to yourself means going out of your way to invest in another person’s life.
Sometimes it means spending time with your siblings even when you have a list of a thousand other things you could be doing. Sometimes it means holding your tongue and using it to encourage others instead of bringing them down. There are so many ways the Holy Spirit can use us once we die to ourselves. Ultimately, dying to ourselves means showing others the love of Christ in everything we do.

Dear Lord, I am dying to myself today and I choose you. What do You have for me? Show me how I can love others the way You have loved me. Teach me to die to myself so that Your life can be glorified. Use me to tell others the exciting news that You give new life. Thank You that it is never too late to turn back to You. Thank You for dying so that we could experience life in You. I love You, Father. Amen.

Have you experienced the new life that Jesus offers? If not, what is holding you back?

How can you die to yourself today?
What are desires you can give up in order to serve the Lord more fully today?

Written by: Mikayla Moreen 

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