2018 is a Great Year to Die
Our willingness to die in 2018 may hold the key to the cultural reform and spiritual revival for which so many of us are praying. I’m not talking about physical death, but something much more demanding – total physical and spiritual surrender.
Lest you think this a strange topic for a New Year’s blog, consider that in Scripture death marks the beginning of almost every new work God seeks to do in His people. In this and many other ways, life with Jesus is the inverse of the life offered by the world. In the world, we start with life and end with death. In the kingdom of God, everything starts with death and ends in life.
The question is, are we willing to die the death God asks us to die in order to live the life God created and redeemed us to live? Have we, as steward leaders, lost this unequivocal requirement of Christ-like living? In losing it, have we also lost its power and its promise?
The great German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote,
“When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.” (Cost of Discipleship)
He knew this death was not an end in itself, but a door, a passageway that opens up to us all that God has for us and all He seeks to do through us. You see, death is not only the portal to God’s blessings on us, it is the power of God to work through us to be a blessing to the world in which we live.
What kind of death is this? Let’s let Scripture answer.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. ~ Romans 6:6-7
Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. Romans 7:9
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules. ~ Colossians 2:20
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. ~ Colossians 3:1-6
Simply put, it is death to sin in every form; death to self-promotion, death to the need to control, death to greed, death to lust, death to the desire for power, death to unhealthy pride, death to anger, death to envy, death to apathy, death to bitterness and resentment and everything that brings relational brokenness. It is also death to everything that separates us from God. It is death to misplaced trust, death to the love of money, death to dependence on anything but God. It is death to lukewarm faith, death to self-serving worship, death to spiritual arrogance and death to a spirit of divisiveness and rancor.
Further, it is the death of the things we hold onto that end up killing us. It is death to our baseless fears, death to our godless anxieties, death to the sins of our past, death to the burden of unrepentant sin and death to the stranglehold of withheld forgiveness.
Finally, it is death to the things that break the heart of God. It is death to our blindness to injustice, death to our timid witness, death to our confessional cowardice, death to our toleration of sin in the name of tolerance, death to our desire to be liked that we hold more dearly than our passion for lifting up Christ. It is death to our unwillingness to suffer for those who suffer and embrace loss for those who cannot find their way. It is death to our comfort that numbs us, convenience that isolates us and conformity that castrates us. It is death to our desire for cheap grace, which is
“…the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship)
This is the death to which God invites, calls and implores us. It is the death that opens the way for the steward leader to lead faithfully. Why death? Because God knows that without this death there can be no resurrection, but through this death, this total surrender, He can work in us and raise to the new life He has won for us.
May we all, as steward leaders, be willing to die this death and rise anew in 2018!
Christian Leadership Alliance is pleased to announce Dr. R. Scott Rodin will presenting a full-day intensive at The Outcomes Conference 2018 on Steward Leaders Achieve Kingdom Impact. Joining him for the day are these three wise experts:
- Andrea Leigh Capuyan, Executive Director – Laurel Pregnancy Center
- Dr. Mark Vincent, CCNL, President – The Design Group, Intl.
- Ron Frey, President – Frey Resource Group
If you are eager to learn more about Steward Leadership, then this is the experience for you!\