Living Out of the Tomb | Galatians 5:24-26
Galatians 5:24-26 | ESV [This Week’s Passage: Galatians 5:16-26]
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Mike’s Authorized Version (MAV)
And if you really belong to Christ, and he to you, your lower self with all it’s well worn ways is history – crucified, dead and buried, with all its insatiable longings and grasping cravings serving as the burial clothes. Don’t you be rolling that stone away anymore – and leave the burial clothes of your former way of life on its corpse, will you? If you’ve stepped out of that tomb into a Spirit-led life, no lingering at the door, no more gazing back into the tomb. Life is out here. Keep moving to these new rhythms, rather than grinding to those tired, old, overworked jukebox tunes blaring out from that tomb the top 40 empty has-been songs of your past as you challenge each other to a dance-off in which you leave each other shredded on the floor.
“Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Crucified took me to buried, buried took me to the concrete image of a tomb. Like Jesus, our old way of life (our lower self, the flesh) has been crucified, dead and buried. Unlike Jesus, it needs to stay in the tomb. No bad resurrection, no zombified reemergence of that old self. And no living at the door of the tomb, or on the threshold, half in the darkness of the tomb, half out in the light of day. The lower self and the whole momentum of disconnection it embodied needs to be left in that tomb – along with all the grave clothes of habits, addictions and drives. We need to move on, to dance in the wide world of Light and Life in the Son. This picture in turn took me to Plato’s Cave – a fictional story/parable Plato told of prisoners chained to a wall of a cave. Their only exposure to reality was through distorted shadows on the wall of the cave that they ultimately fully associate with reality. Even when one escapes and tells them of life beyond the shadows, none of them believe. For reality is in the shadows. It’s a powerful and appropriate image. The detail Paul would add from this Galatians’ portrait is that we are no longer chained to the wall. Because of Christ, we can walk out. The further image I saw here was that of a jukebox in the cave that continues to play the tunes of our captivity, the songs of our lower self and the downward spiral, the song of the shadows dancing on the wall. Only as we walk away from the cave will our soul be captivated by a deeper, more resonant rhythm – and our feet be freed to dance to it in harmony with the rest of God’s humanity.
What “songs” from the life of your “lower/former self” are still the hardest for you to resist? What is the key to hearing God’s new song and dancing to it?
Abba, let my former self of self-assertion, pride, and ego truly be crucified, dead, and buried. Lead me out of that tomb. Let me drop every last strip of the grave clothes of that former self. Lead me out of the tomb and into the freedom of the Son. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.