Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
I don’t think I’ve given my old, earthly self a proper burial. I haven’t realized I am no longer bound to Adam, but now bound to Christ.
If we are in Christ, we have an actual death, burial and resurrection. I’ve heard this all my life, but now it makes sense. I really died. And for all these years after my own death and resurrection, my new self has been carrying around my old, dead self like a safety blanket. I wanted to keep it close in case of emergency, in case I needed to pull up past offenses and throw them in someone’s face to defend the hurt and pain I kept holding on to.
When I was resurrected, the dust from Adam shaken from me, and the old self bound by rules lying in the grave, I looked back and couldn’t help but pull that old self out of the grave with me and let my old identity remain close. That old self that knew how to hold onto anger, resentment and pain weighed me down and kept me from my eternally bound purpose: to love God and others without fail and without fear.
Colossians 3 tells us all the things we can put off because we are in Christ. Some of the big ones are anger, rage and bad feelings toward others. This, if anything, explains what is keeping me from Love. I haven’t put these things off. I’m holding onto the old self—the one that has to keep up with rules and regulations. That old self makes me feel ashamed when my life looks messy because I keep failing.
Can I just say something here? Our mess does not define us. “I’m a mess!” can be fun to say to make fun of ourselves. Maybe laughing at our mess gives us a few seconds of grace, but it’s not eternal. I’m not sure seeing myself as a mess helps me hear the discerning voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “I make all things new.” I don’t think it helps me see others who are hurting and produce love and forward motion in me to help. You may be surrounded by mess, but mess does not define you. We are not a mess. We are in Christ.
The Bible says when I confirm my belief in the Son of God, He is now in me. He is my identity. He is my definition. He is my life, my eternal life. My old self, my old past, no longer defines me. All the things I have accomplished no longer define me. All my sins and all my accomplishments no longer have breath. They died. I am one with Christ. He is my everything—not just the first thing in my life, but my everything.
So I decided to dance on my grave with Jesus. With Jesus standing beside me, I placed the dead part of me, the unbelieving part, in its resting spot and closed the coffin lid. Jesus climbed on top and reached His hand out to me. We proceeded to bust a move.
I am in complete freedom now. Even when my flesh tries to make me forget, His spirit rises up in me to renew my mind. He reminds me of the day we danced on my grave together, holding hands, laughing, full of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and faithfulness and gentleness and goodness and self control.
If you are reading this and feel like dancing, I suggest listening to Hillsong’s song “Rule” (the Of Dirt and Grace version). Imagine yourself holding hands with Jesus, dancing and eye to eye. All the other things will fade away.
There is another side to this: Once you realize the mess is not who you are, you stop being distracted by the mess. You see the hurting and searching people all around you. God’s voice is going to tell you who is hurting, who needs encouragement and who needs to know Him.
I have to tell you, I can no longer leave my house thinking of only myself. I go to the grocery store and run smack dab into someone and hear, “Tell her I love her.” I almost always listen now. Let me tell you what this action has done for me: It sets me free. It sets me free from my own fear.
You see, fear produces more fear and more self-centeredness. Love produces more love. Love changes your focus from yourself to others. That was the plan all along: to get your focus off yourself and onto the one who is worthy to be praised—a radical, rule-breaking, humble king, who came to show you real resurrected life and teach you how to bring it to others by way of Love. Not fear. My fear had a funeral, and I was there… dancing.
More About Kelli Sommers
Kelli Sommers comes from a long line of storytellers and comedians. Through her stories she hopes to inspire others to know how much God loves them. Having known this very thing most of her life, she is on a deeper journey of understanding God’s love. Kelli is married to a complete opposite who loves to watch her fly. She has 4 beautiful kids and serving her family is one of her greatest joys in life, but bedtime is one of her favorite times of day. See more from Kelli on her website: www.kellisommers.com