Bible Reading Blog
“Crucify Your Passions & Desires”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Galatians 2.20; 5.24; Ephesians 4.17-24; Romans 6.3-14; Colossians 3.1-10; Mark 8.34-38
The cross is so flippantly portrayed in ‘Christian culture’ that we can forget it was a torture device. Those subjected to the cross were typically the worst of society, whom the Romans deemed ‘worthy’ of suffering and humiliation. As documented in gospels regarding Jesus, the process meticulously stripped away dignity and flesh little by little. He was mocked and abused, stripped and flogged to the point his human form was unrecognizable (Mark 15.16-20; Isaiah 52.14). In this weakened state, many were forced to carry the cross to the place they would die. Jesus did so with help, only to be nailed to the cross and hung up as a spectacle for everyone to see.
Crucifixion gave no mercy to the condemned. The process ensured that death was excruciating, humiliating and total. This is the kind of death Christ suffered for us. But not only that; he calls us to put ourselves to death in the same way:
- “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8.35).
- “…those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5.24)
- “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6.6)
- “Put to death what is earthly in you…” (Colossians 3.5)
We must not take lightly the intentional use of this metaphor. Jesus doesn’t tell us to work on ourselves and rest on his grace as we struggle with sin. He calls us to crucify our passions and desires. We must take an active and deliberate role to totally eradicate our former life from existence. To do so…
- Our activities must be meticulous. We must evaluate our behavior, take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10.5) and make the best use of the time (Ephesians 5.15-17). Remember: the works of the flesh are evident (Galatians 5.19). We must deal with them when they are exposed and submit to Jesus’ will for us. There can be no shred of life allowed from our old self in the way we behave.
- Our attitude must be intent. We cannot be satisfied with losing. We are empowered to do all things through Christ and must not allow our flesh to rule in us any longer. Our attitude must be, “I can, and I must.” That’s how Jesus felt despite his weakness in the flesh (Luke 22.42)… how could we do anything less?
- Our commitment must be total. Dead things don’t come back to life apart from Jesus. If the works of the flesh are evident in my life, it is because I haven’t made the choice to eradicate them. This is an on-going and daily process (Colossians 3.5-10; Romans 12.1-2), that we must not concede to apathy.
The fruit of the Spirit only grows in hearts cultivated with these choices. If you want to benefit from and bear fruit of the Spirit, you must crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and allow God’s word to take root in your heart. This is our identity, and this is our calling. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2.20)