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Dead to self, alive in Christ

Dead to self, alive in Christ
Photo by Susan Passi-Klaus

By Jessica Brodie

When the weight of my unworthiness settles in my bones, I play a little trick. I pretend to be slipping through life unseen. My actions don’t matter; my words don’t matter. Neither my past nor my future matters.

All I am is my soul, flitting here and there like I’m wearing fairy wings, untouchable and untouched, dancing in the light.

If you’ve seen the movie Harry Potter (or read the books), you might be familiar with the Cloak of Invisibility that Harry the young wizard donned when creeping about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All he had to do was slip it on and no one could see him. He could go wherever he wanted undetected.

His cloak reminds me of my “untouchable soul” trick. Now, Harry wore the invisibility cloak when he was investigating certain mysteries, or when he wanted to go someplace he’d been forbidden (he was a teenager, after all). My little trick, however, is something I play when the pressure of Self becomes too much and I want to hide away from it all. After, I feel “like me” again, ready to take on the world.

But reading the Apostle Paul’s letter to the early church in Corinth, I came across a passage that makes me realize my little trick is pointless.

Paul wrote, “The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: one died for the sake of all; therefore, all died. He died for the sake of all so that those who are alive should live not for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 CEB).

Paul said something similar in Romans 6:11, that we should consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.”

This is a comfort to me, not only because I know my sins were washed away when I was saved by Christ, but also that in Christ, I have the freedom to let all the unworthy aspects of myself go—fully and completely.

See, I don’t need to disappear through little tricks or invisibility cloaks to become one with Christ. I simply have to accept that I am a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). I no longer live for self but for the kingdom of God.

Christ died for me. Every day as I walk through life, I strive to “die” to worldly ways and desires. I strive to live for Him.

As we prepare for the special called session of General Conference this month, I’ve decided I’m bringing that attitude with me. It matters not what I want to happen with our denomination or what I think is the best way forward. It only matters that God’s will be done on earth—and with The United Methodist Church—as it is in heaven.

May we all be alive in Christ regardless of what that looks like.

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