Enjoy Session 10 of last fall's 40 Day Project:
Some people reach a place in their lives where they feel that death is the only way out. Yet as strange as this may seem, the concept of dying to a miserable existence is actually closer to the truth than most people realize. To find freedom from a life of bondage – death truly does have to happen.
Who would like to pull the plug on your life, if you knew that you could start all over again, gain a new heart and a new mind, get rid of all the negatives, and do it right this time? Who would like to “reboot” your life and get rid of all the bugs in your system? It’s not just possible - it’s essential.
People who attempt suicide have an inkling of the right idea. They reason that if life is going to be more of the same, they’d rather not live any more. Most only reach that point after struggling to find a better life for an unbearably long time. They never did want death, but life – a better life. But when change seemed impossible, they chose death over suffering. They take the first step by reasoning that life as it is isn’t worth living. But sadly, they never take the second step - the one that leads them to a new life.
One of the most basic messages of God to us is this: “You guys have messed up your lives so bad, there’s no way I can fix them. You have to start all over from scratch.”
There was a time an important religious leader (Nicodemus) came to Jesus and asked for help, and Jesus told him flat-out that his knowledge and position meant nothing. If Nicodemus was serious about getting help, he’d have to start all over again. Real change is not just a label we slap on ourselves... lots of people like to claim that they’re “born-again” but if they take a good, honest look at their lives, there’s nothing new about them at all.
Like a car that’s been in a bad wreck, there comes a point when your mechanic will say, “Your car’s totaled. It’s a write-off. It’s not worth trying to fix this car, you have to get a new one.” Look at the world today, we are so badly messed up that patching no longer works... A patch only does so much; it doesn’t make the clothes new again. We need much more than a patch, a quick fix. We need to throw away what we have, get rid of all that’s negative, let God create something new inside of us and start over again. The new “us” – with God’s mind, with new desires and new behavior – is guaranteed to overcome all our old problems, because the old “us” has died.
Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” True. If something that we’ve done repeatedly doesn’t work, at some point we need to realize that it’s never going to work, and we need to do something else. This requires humility and courage. Doing something we’ve never done before is confusing and scary, but if it works, it could be the best thing we’ve ever done.
But how can we reboot our lives? We can’t. Only God can, but He needs our permission. The 1st step is to tell God something like this: “God I’ve made a mess of my life. I want to die to myself and let you make me someone new. I’ve heard You can do this for me, so I’m asking You to help me right now. Take away the old me and make me new.”
The 2nd step is to reject any fear about this new life, and start living it. Develop a hatred for the old ways of thinking and acting that never helped you. Die to them. The prayer you made is a good start, but God wants to see that you’re serious. Don’t resurrect your old life. Then get ready for the directions that God will give you about this new life, and the ideas and urges that you yourself will have. Follow this new direction with faith that it’s going to work.
Even when you don’t do it perfectly, but are doing your best with faith, God will even turn mistakes into correct decisions that will end up changing your life for the better. Some of us have felt for years that our talents and abilities have been blocked or ignored by everyone around us. We need to decide that this is going to change from now on.
Here is a list of things that you might need to “kill”:
- Harsh self-criticism, or self-hatred
- Selfishness, defensiveness
- Negativity, pessimism
- Doubt, fear, anxiety
- Passivity or laziness to stay in faith
- Feeling undeserving of God’s help, or of a good life
- Feeling sorry for yourself, and believing you are a powerless victim
- Anger (the bad type, keep the good type)
- Being passive, accepting negative things too easily
- The feeling that you’re caught in a cycle you’ll never get out of
- Love of bad habits (drugs, alcohol, cursing, gambling, porn, etc.)
- Feeling you’re too old or too young to change
a) Decide that you are ready to die to your old self right now. Refuse to continue living the same way so that God can have room to change you.
b) Pray purposefully every day this week, telling God that you need a totally new life, not a patched up one. Insist with Him. Let Him know that you’re serious.
c) Don’t be afraid of this new life, and don’t resist the new patterns that will start to develop in you. If God is a part of it, it will be a million times better than your old life.
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5