*By Dave Zuleger
I’ve felt the weariness of life lately. I feel my weakness as a husband, a daddy, and a pastor. I feel my limitations as a finite man and especially of the sin that still clings far too closely. In seasons like this one I find myself tempted to passivity in my life. The battle never stops and it seems like I’m often losing, so why keep trying?
Then, this morning my eyes read the words of Romans 6:9-12:
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
If you read earlier in the chapter you see Paul making a case that we’ve been baptized into Christ – united with him – buried with him in his death to sin and therefore raised with him to walk in the freedom of newness of life. (6:1-8).
The foundational reality of our ongoing lives as Christians resides in the death and resurrection of Christ and our union with him in it.
In verses 9-10 Paul reminds us that death is defeated once-for-all with no ongoing dominion over Christ and the life he lives will be lived forever unto God. And then he calls us to consider our union with Christ in this.
We are to “consider ourselves” dead to sin (with Christ!) and alive to God (in Christ! – that is we are to count it as a fact. Paul means to point us to a type of intense remembering and reckoning and recounting of our reality in Jesus Christ.
When I feel the weariness of life and my failures, my eyes are on myself – apart from my union with Jesus. Instead, Paul would have me fix my eyes on Jesus and remember that I’m united with him until I believe it deep in my soul again.
You see, we are not merely finite people afflicted with sin and suffering anymore. Indeed, we are still finite. We are still afflicted. But, now we’re also united with Christ. We’re not living in our own strength anymore but instead, are able to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
Instead of giving into the weariness of this life, the strength of the Lord dwells in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we are able to “be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1:11)
The words of Romans 6 this morning were like a refreshing drink of water on a hot, humid Minnesota summer day. Or to state it differently, Pauls words were an alarm clock to wake me up out of a sleep of sorrow.
God sent his Son into the world to die a death to sin on my behalf and to be raised up to conquer death on my behalf. I am united to that death and resurrection. I stopped to think about it, to look to Jesus, and to ponder it until I counted it as a fact once more!
And as I did I felt a rising conviction as the Spirit reminded me personally to live out verse 12 again.
Dave, let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Dave, fight against apathy and doubt. Dave, fight against anxiety and anger. Dave, fight against bitterness and frustration. Dave, fight against complacency and condemnation. Dave, look to Jesus. Remember who he is and what he’s done. Then, remember who you are in him. Remember, that you are united with him to walk in the newness of life in the strength that he supplies.
The Holy Spirit, through the living and active word of God, was waking me up to the newness of life in Christ again. He was helping me believe in the person and work of Christ afresh. He was pointing me to the goodness of my Father to sanctify me and strength me anew.
And as I sit here writing this, there is fresh belief in my Savior that has helped me get back up to do a fresh battle with sin in the strength that he supplies. This is the Christian life. Going to the word over and over so that the Holy Spirit can remind us of Jesus and then help us “put to death the deeds of the body” because that’s what blood-bought sons and daughters of God do.
So, maybe you’re feeling weary today. Join me in believing in our Savior in fresh ways so that we are prepared to battle against sin again and again for the sake of his name and the good of those around us.