Thursday, August 21, 2014

Romans 6:4 -- On Newness

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4

I like the idea of walking "in newness of life."  The symbolism of baptism as a death and a resurrection seems powerful to me.  Changing ourselves is hard.  Giving up habits and ways of thinking and whole lifestyles sometimes, especially ones that we've embraced for years... it can seem impossible.  And the symbolism is appropriate.  It can feel like a death, of part of ourselves.  But, just in case that starts seeming negative and as though it isn't worth it, equally, on the other side, laying the burden of sin down along with the part of ourselves that wants it, it is a relief, and it does feel like a brand new life, starting from scratch, when we are able to stand up straight and walk without those gigantic burdens on our shoulders.  And that laying down of our burden of sin doesn't only happen at baptism, but also when we sincerely repent and renew those promises that we made when we were baptized.  So, we can be new each week when we take the sacrament.  ... As often as we sincerely lay down those burdens and let them die, we can start fresh, and walk in newness of life. :)
We sometimes forget the power of newness.  We pull our old, ratty life around us for comfort sometimes.  We're used to it, and afraid to give up the familiar, whether it is making us happy or not.  But God calls us up from the audience and asks us if we want to trade our old life for a new, warmer, cleaner one.  And we get confused.  We think there will be some trick.  Maybe a goat will be behind curtain number two... but God isn't playing a game, or offering anything that is hidden.  He is just offering us something new, if we are willing to give up something old that doesn't even help us anymore.  If we are willing to lay down our sin, he will teach us the joy of learning to walk and run and leap without that weight.  Let's take the deal.  Let's release our chokehold on the bad parts of ourselves.  Let's be willing to lay down our sins, and exchange them for newness and lightening of burdens, and clean hearts and hands and minds.  And let's do everything we can to keep our new lives clean, and go to God for help learning new things and new ways. :)

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