Dying out to self-will and self-preservation is not an easy thing. Being crucified is not easy. It was not easy for Jesus, either. He walked in human flesh and had temptations and desires as any other man. He had feelings and emotions. But He knew the consequences of sin and the rewards of living for God. He knew the pleasures of sin are only for a short season and the abundant life paid for by his death on the cross would be for all who would accept it, and it would be forever. He considered that worth his momentary sufferings. We have to know the same thing. The sufferings are momentarily, but the abundant life is forever. That is worth living a crucified life.
Paul considered the worth of becoming a new creature in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, he writes: “Therefore if any person is (engrafted) in Christ, the Messiah, he is (a new creation altogether,) a new creation, the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” (amplified). He also considered the consequences of living a life without God. In Romans 8:5-16 he says that when we live after the flesh we are concerned with the things of the flesh which bring death, but when we live after the Spirit, then we are concerned with the things of the Spirit which bring life. He implores us to discipline ourselves to the deeds of the flesh so that we can have life through Christ as the children of God.
When you were a sinner, you lived in death. The life of God was not in you. You lived after the flesh, minded fleshly needs, feeling, habits, and desires.
Read Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Death worked in you, for “the wages of sin is death.”
You were in bondage to the flesh. When you were without the life of Christ, your spirit man dominated you. You did not desire the things of God because you were separated from Him by sin.
Read Ephesian 2:12, 14-16. At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God’s chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God’s promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God.
Jesus is LIFE, and without Him, you had death which is the absence of life, the opposite of life. Sinners are not sinners because they sin, but rather they sin because they are sinners.
Zoe is the Greek word for eternal life—the life of God. When you confessed Jesus as your Lord, Zoe, the eternal life of God, entered into you. There is no other way to get this life except through Jesus.
Ephesians 4:17 & 18 says that the heathens have their “understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their hearts.” Once you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, life enters you. (John 5:24 & 6:53-58). John 5:57 says those who continually feed on Jesus, taking Him for their food and nourishment, will live through Him because of Him. This is done by partaking of the Word of God and being in the presence of God through prayer, worship, and meditation on the Word.
1 John 5:11-13 says that eternal life is in God’s Son, and only those who have Him have life. It is important that you know—beyond a shadow of doubt—that inside you, you have of eternal life, not later ‘up yonder’, but now, in this flesh, on this earth! “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free!”
There is only one way to walk with God, and that is to be compatible to Him. And the only way to be compatible with God is to be filled with the life of God. God filled you with His life through His Son, making you a new creature in Christ when you were born into His Kingdom. Luke 17:21 says that the Kingdom of God is within you. Do you know that the kingdom of God—God’s territory over which He has authority—is actually in you? God has put inside you His nature and His ability, which is contained in His Son Jesus, who lives inside you.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:4). If you were a branch grafted into a peach tree, the sap of the peach tree containing all the nutrients and characteristics needed to produce peaches would flow into you, and you would produce peaches. Likewise, through the new birth into the kingdom of God, the life of God—all the characteristics of God, flow through His children to produce the fruit of the Spirit, or the fruit of God. His genetic outline is in you, and you will never be the same.
2 Peter 1:4: In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature.
Remember the story of the eagle that was born in a hen house. A hen was given the egg of an eagle and sat on it until it hatched. The hen taught the young eagle to live as a chicken. Like the chickens, the eagle scratched in the barnyard for nourishment and satisfaction. But it was not satisfied. One day something within it stirred when it saw an eagle soaring high above the barnyard. “I want to fly like that,” he said to the hen.
“You cannot do that! That is an eagle. You are only a chicken like the rest of us!” scoffed the hen. Day after day, the young ignorant eagle scratched and pecked. But his bill was not made to peck, and his talons were not made to scratch. He was miserable.
One day the eagle perched in a tall tree close to the barnyard. The young eagle’s sharp eyes could then see clearly the majestic beak and strong talons of the huge bird above him. He looked down as his own talons which by now were strong, however somewhat misshapen from scratching so long in the barnyard. He suddenly realized that he was more like the bird soaring in the sky than like the birds scratching in the dirt for a morsel. His chest swelled. He jumped, and jumped again, then leaped into the air, flapping his great wings as hard as he could. It was hard at first, but he gained momentum, and soon was soaring above the barnyard above the trees and above the mountain tops. He was no longer ignorant of his heritage. He was born an eagle, and now that he knew it, he would BE and eagle.
You are accepted in the beloved. You are chosen from the foundation of the world. Once born of God, you will never be a happy sinner. Sin goes against all that is in you. You also will never be a happy, healthy Christian without reading the Word of God, because that is the Bread of life of which you must partake to grow and develop. In the Word of God, you will learn all that you are in God. Without the Word, you cannot know who you are, thus you will not live up to your potential. You will be easily swayed by the world’s thinking and will accept the death that lives in non-Christians. In John 18:36, Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world, and Paul reminds us to refuse to be conformed to this world, but rather to be transformed by the Word of God to the will of God (Romans 12:2).
YOU, my Christian friend, are not born of God to scratch in the dirt and sand for a mere existence. You are born of God to soar in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:2). You are born to be an eagle Christian. According to John 10:10, Jesus came that we might have abundant life. So, we can have life that is not abundant. We can have the measure of life that we choose, more or less working in us. We must look into the Word—behold His glory—to be changed and to soar above the storms of the world—to live to the full potential that dwells inside us through Christ. You are a new creature in Christ. You are the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:10). You are in covenant with God. All that He is and all that He does is in you. You have Zoe—the life of God on the inside of you. Live like it!
Colossians 3:1-4: If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above—the higher things—not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in (the splendor of His) glory.