Rise and Die
What’s the first thing you do upon arising every morning? Do you snap into action ready for the day, or do you hit the “snooze” button several times and remain in a haze ‘til that first morning coffee? Do you start with some exercises, get dressed right away or throw on a housecoat ‘til sometime mid-morning?
What’s the first thought on your mind upon waking? Is it your “to-do” list for the day? Is it “What?—Where am I?” as you pull yourself from some dream you were having and into the real world? Or is it “Good morning Lord! Thank You for another day!”
Do you begin your day with a prayer? …a radio blare? … a baby cry? …a wet lick from your puppy pet?
We all start our days uniquely, and any one of the above combinations is valid. But at some point at the start of our day we should do as Paul did: We should begin our day by dying.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians (as the King James Version has it) “I die daily.” Some preachers have expounded this verse to mean Paul daily subdued his fleshly desires and nurtured instead the will of God for him each day. Yet to be fair to Paul in the context of this letter he meant “I face death every day.” (1 Cor. 15:31). He was defending his belief in the resurrection by saying “Why do you think we are willing to put our lives on the line over this gospel if there is no gain from it beyond this life?” “Why endanger ourselves?” “Why place our lives in jeopardy?” (see v.30).
But isn’t that saying much the same thing. For surely to endanger one’s life like this is to have set oneself apart for God’s service each day! It means just as much to subdue the desires of the flesh and embrace instead the Will of the Lord. Truly, to “Rise and Shine” one must indeed very early each day “Rise and Die.”
And how can any of us do this? We can do this because the Spirit of Christ indwells us as those whose lives are given to Christ. Because of Christ we can “die daily.” It is as Paul confessed elsewhere,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).
Rise and die. It’s the only way to abundant life.