60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Start your own journey and get the “Live Second” book in stores NOW.
Day 27 by Kate Conner
I’ve found that the physical world and the spiritual world are inextricably combined.
I like to imagine that they were stirred up in a big pot in heaven before they were poured out in creation. I imagine that God poured in a bottle of tangible things and a bottle of intangible things, and as they swirled together in the big cosmic mixing pot, all the atoms combined to become molecules – and there is no separating them. Now our every-day, physical lives are infused with divine significance – there is no “my life on earth” and “my spiritual journey;” there’s just life, everything included.
There is no biblical mention of a giant, cosmic mixing pot, but the picture makes me smile.
So on the fourth day, as I read through Live Second, I got physical.
I read this.
(I’m not the most diligent underliner, so sue me.)
“Sin shall not be your master.” The cool thing is, technically, sin IS NOT your master. Christ freed you, that’s what the resurrection was all about, you just need to stop taking sin’s orders anyway.
Too often we (I) live like those poor circus elephants who are chained to a steak in the ground to keep them from running off. As babies, they tug and pull on their chain, but can’t pull up the steak, so one day – they just stop trying. Then they grow into massive, intelligent creatures who could uproot two dozen steaks in the ground – but they don’t. Because they’re broken in.
If some sin has mastery over you, it’s not because you can’t be free; it’s because your mind is broken in. Our sinful nature says, “Do this,” and instead of questioning its authority, we just concede like lemmings.
So this is what I did this week: I said, out loud, to my sinful nature who was barking orders at me to feel sorry for myself and whine and eat some more,
“No. I do not take orders from you anymore.”
It was only me and the kids in the house at the time, but I plan to keep telling my sin nature to shove it, so if you hear rumors about me and schizophrenia, you can ignore them. You can say, “No, she doesn’t hear voices, she’s just talking to her sin nature.” Not that that sounds any less crazy.
But I’m tired of living like a broken-in circus elephant, and I bet you are too. It’s not the life we were created for.
Saying “No” out loud solidifies our resolve. It makes it final, a decision.
The physical act of speaking matters. I think that the reason a lot of people don’t pray is because they’ve never talked to God out loud before – they’ve never tried the words out on their tongue. The reason some people don’t budge during worship is that they’ve never lifted a hand before, nobody ever made them try. Walking down to the alter feels ENORMOUS because it’s wholly unfamiliar.
I think it’s important to tell children, “pray after me,” and lead them phrase by phrase through a prayer. I think it’s important for a worship leader to ask a congregation to lift their hands with palms facing out – to express exaltation of God, and for us to try praying on our knees to express desperate need and submission.
Some people say that these kinds of corporate actions are rote – empty and ritualistic.
It’s leading. It’s teaching. It’s discipling new believers and equipping them with spiritual practices that will help them draw near to God.
This week, as I was challenged through Romans and Live Second to stop enslaving myself to sin, I’ve been intentional to infuse the physical into this spiritual struggle. I encourage you to do the same.
Form the words with your mouth and say them.
“No, sin, I don’t take orders from you anymore. I am NOT too (tired, hungry, turned on, depressed, angry, entitled, insecure, sad) to stop. I do not answer to you. I have a new master. A better master. He is loving and joy-giving and life-orchestrating, Hallelujah, and I take orders from Him now.”
Make those words so familiar that they become your gut reaction, your first-responder-reaction to temptation. Pray so consistently every morning that you start doing it even as you hit the snooze button. Praying half-asleep doesn’t mean that it’s insincere, it means that it is INSIDE OF YOU.
And that’s the secret: that’s how you start living with a new nature, how you start living as a free creature instead of a chained one – you get the truth inside of you.
Check out Kate’s regular blog at kateelizabethconner.com where she writes about stuff: funny, serious, good, hard, embarrassing, inspiring stuff.
Next for the 60-Days-of-Second: Day 28- “Addiction” by Kate Conner