“The moment I stop learning, I start dying.” – Albert Einstein
What a quotable quote from Einstein. It is perhaps this philosophy to life which has made him synonymous with human genius and creativity!
Too many of us are dying mentally, emotionally and relationally because we stopped learning from the school of life.
We need to ask ourselves honestly as a new year unfolds: “Will I be wiser or dumb and dumber – like the movie title – as I tough it out silently in my singleness, slug it out vocally in my marriage, stumble along tiredly in my parenting or simply coast along aimlessly in my retirement?”
In my previous post, I wrote about the Lord Jesus’ call to accept God’s offer of new life that is only availed by faith in Him as our Saviour and Lord.
He spoke of denying self, taking up the Cross and following Him. Jesus went on to explain this: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-37).
In Jesus’ ultimate divine wisdom, the motto to new life is: “The moment we start dying to self, we start living, not just learning!”
Our church recently staged a Christmas Cantata entitled “The Promise Fulfilled”. God kindly brought packed audiences to listen to moving songs penned by Scott Hurd retelling God’s wondrous promise to save us from sin through Jesus’ humble birth, humiliating death and reconciling resurrection.
Jesus’ dead-or-alive paradigm to new life was radically lived out and faithfully passed down to us by his apostles. Paul the apostle pleaded passionately for his listeners to crucify or die to the flesh, which means an autonomous life opposed to God.
Paul’s list of what we are to “die to” or crucify include sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21).
We probably need to confess we only “half died” to sin when we continue to enjoy our flesh life by fondling sexual sin on our phones, cuddling jealousy when we are bypassed for a promotion, rationalising anger when we don’t get our way, feeding gossip when we want to badmouth a “frenemy” or giving up on self-control in a moment of excess.
Paul finishes his list of what we are to die to by saying: “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26).
The original word for “conceited” literally means “empty of God’s glory”. Paul is really spot on because when we are full of self, we become empty of God and others.
By Jesus’ victory on the cross and the Spirit’s power in those who believe, we can instead be alive to God’s new life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We can rightly delight by being alive in Christ and by being increasingly repulsed by the works of our flesh.
We can stop living in this terrible limbo of being half dead to sin. Little wonder we are only half alive in Christ. You can end this half-baked life and enjoy true newness by embracing Jesus’ offer: “The moment you start dying, you start living.” Amen.