In our current cultural moment, we all kind of just define ourselves however we want, right? We build our identities on various principles, passions, goals. The bummer thing is, how we understand ourselves drives how we live and why we do what we do, so if what we’ve built our identities on crumbles…everything else does too. That’s why the only certain place to root our identities is in Jesus Christ. When Jesus is our life, we end up with a deeper joy than anything we could have enjoyed through any other source of identity.
1. Jesus is our life
- What is the most important thing in your life? As we look over our lives, there are always things that take the center. If our lives aren’t our own and we were bought at a price, we don’t get to choose what our lives should be. We’ve chosen to let Jesus run the show.
- Paul uses the short phrase “in Christ” to denote people who have been raised with Jesus from death to life. This is a literal reality––we get to share in the very life of God! We are in him, and he is in us.
- There’s an old saying that says, “Don’t be so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good.” This is a false dichotomy because we’re actually no earthly good unless we are heavenly minded.
- We become heavenly minded by setting our minds on the things above. We live in an attention economy: everything and everyone constantly vies for our attention because it’s profitable. So we have to make the conscious decision where we’re going to set our focus.
Who or what is at the center of your life? When Jesus is at the center of your life, how does your life look differently? Describe what that journey has looked like for you.
2. Put off the old man
- When we say “yes” to Jesus, we are choosing to say “no” to other things. As followers of Jesus, there are things from our former lives we have to leave behind. And that’s sometimes not a one-time thing. It is a discipline that requires us to choose Jesus in every area of our lives again and again. Often, putting off the old man is a continual, conscious, daily decision.
- Jesus shares his holiness with us, and we continue to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to him. Then we begin to prove out his good and perfect will in our lives. God is a great heart surgeon, cutting away all that which does not belong to our identities in him.
What do you need to “put off” that doesn’t match up with your life in Jesus?
3. Be renewed in Jesus
- We don’t stop at putting off the old man––we put on the new man, our identification with Jesus. God wants to renew us, but we get to choose if we cooperate or not. Don’t resist the renewal of God in your life. The process of renewal is constant. It means that we realign our priorities to look like God’s, that we do things God’s way instead of the way we used to do them.
- God always accomplishes his ultimate purposes in the world, but because he gives us free will, we can miss out on the beauty he wants to accomplish in our lives if we resist his renewal. When we offer ourselves to Jesus constantly, we allow him to do a total work of renewal.
- God’s renewal in our lives is what produces unity with others too. When our relationship with God is restored through the finished work of Jesus, we see the world according to God’s priorities. When we are on the same page as God, we treat people the way that He would, and our relationships experience resurrection.
Is there any way you are resisting God’s work of renewal in your life? How do you need to put on the life of Jesus in a different or deeper way this week?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?