Good News About Mortification
We're not big fans of dying, we humans. Yet everything dies. Listen to "The Lion King." Something dies so that something else might live.
I think many of the struggles and darknesses that descend daily through politics, religion, personal relationships & habits come from the fact that we've lost the perspective on how to put things to death.
I'm thinking of the word mortification. To put to death. Killing dead stuff so living stuff might live.
Paul talks about "putting to death" things in our life that destroy us (Colossians 3). Things that alienate us from others, lead us into selfishness and self-satisfaction at the sacrifice of deep and abiding love for other people.
These are things that lead us against "loving one another." These are things that lead us to hate, violence (emotional and physical) and cycles of brokenness. In the big picture, they are things that cause us to become inhuman, if we see being human as living fully the way God made us to live.
In other words, Jesus' life was lived not to show us how to be good or how to be religious, but how to be human - connected with God so that we might learn how to live differently.
If we are going to be human, there are things that will have to die. Mortification. Put to death.
I ran across this quote by Urban T. Holmes III, and it speaks persuasively to this point:
Mortification is the the intentional denial of legitimate pleasures in the spirit of Christian poverty that one might become more human...a life incapable of significant sacrifice is also incapable of courageous action." (from Spirituality for Ministry)
To be human we must deny good things gone wrong. To be human we must deny legitimate things with illegitimate holds on our life.
Once that happens, we will be forces of resurrection in a world that so badly needs some death - some mortification - some pruning to see the growth of being human that it so desperately needs.
What needs to die in you today?