One of the keys to Christian life is reckoning yourself dead. Jesus said that anyone that wanted to follow Him had to deny their own lives and take up their own cross and follow Him daily. They need to take up a tool of torture and death and carry it around with them everywhere they go. If anyone would find their life, they must lose it constantly, daily, moment by moment, but everyone who tries to save their own life will lose it.
The beginning of Christian life is recognizing that you are dead in your sins and there is no way to get yourself out. All the graves of the world are one way trips — except one. So the offer of Christ is for anyone who will trust in Him to share His grave. And His grave is empty. The stone is rolled away. But that’s the only way out of sin, death, and the domain of the devil. There is no other way out.
But this remains true throughout the Christian life. There is no other life – there is only life in Christ. Would you kill that nagging sin? That lust, that anger, that bad attitude, that worry? Then reckon yourself dead in Christ. Tell the truth about yourself: you do not just have a little sin problem, a small nagging issue. You have an infestation. You are covered in death maggots. You’re a rotting corpse with nothing good in you.
This is the ground of all Christian worship: that the Holy God came for filthy corpses and suffered and died the death we deserve, the death we could never finish. The problem is that we frequently don’t believe that Jesus really needed to die. We may think it makes a dramatic story, but really we aren’t that bad. And so we cling to our own grave, our own grave clothes, and we wonder why these worms keep showing up in our hearts.
Look up. Look in the mirror. It’s way worse than you thought. We need to die, but if we will die in Christ, if we will reckon all of our attempts futile and worthless, then Christ will live in us. And if you think about that, it ought to bring a humble warmth to your face, and the kind of gratitude that is hard to shake.