Living More Fully With Christ

We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might live no longer be enslaved to sin…. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.   (Rom. 6:6,8)

Just after finishing my visit with 35 vets in the jail, a man asked for a private word. Away from his cellmates, he told me his mother had just died, and asked if I could get him a pass to attend her funeral.

When I returned to the jail the following week, I sadly had to tell the man that I hadn’t been able to get permission for him to leave the jail. I then asked if we could have a service for his mother right then and there. He agreed to that idea, as did everyone else in the cell.

During the service he talked about his mother and her unwavering love. He also talked about his sorrow and guilt for all the pain he had caused her.

At a quiet moment I asked the other guys if they had ever missed attending the funeral of a loved one because they had been in jail. They all raised their hands. I then asked if anyone wanted to share their memories about those they had lost.

As their reflections were winding down, the first guy said, “I’m grateful for this time together, but another funeral needs to happen here today. I need a funeral for my drinking, drugging, stealing, dealing self. If I don’t have that funeral, I’m a dead man. Been in trouble my whole life. The way I’ve lived doesn’t work. Does anyone else need a funeral?”

Who doesn’t? I know I do. I trust you do. We all need a funeral for the attitudes, habits, and behaviors that get us into trouble, cause hurt, and don’t work.

Paul encourages us to have a funeral in today’s scripture when he says that the “old self” needs to die. The “old self” separates us from Jesus, each other, and our best selves. May we have that funeral, trusting in Paul’s last words: “But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. What funeral do you need to have in your own life? What habits, attitudes, proclivities, or actions need to die so that you can have the life God desires for you?
  1. If you indeed had a funeral for those things that get you into trouble, that cause hurt, that diminish your life, how would your life change?
  1. Paul proclaims that if we die with Christ, we will also live with Him. What would living more fully in Christ look like and feel like for you?

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