“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 ESV
We know that our old self….
My old self was a tangled effort. The right numbers never came up when it was my turn to be measured. I would paint inside the lines, whitewash the shadows, and candy coat the rain. My insufficiency wasn’t a question of my devotion. It was just that I was born beneath the surface and thought I had to work harder than everyone else to catch up to zero.
My old self was a flailing, unswaddled infant. An old woman trapped in a body that defied her dignity.
…was crucified with Him…
Love knocked hard enough to get me to shave my legs and buy new perfume, but left with someone else at the end of the night. I was a pawn in everyone else’s chess game. I eventually stopped waiting for the phone to tell me why it stopped ringing.
They conspired against me and planned an elaborate going-away party without telling me where I was going. I thought it was finally my turn. No longer held back, I would be an equal. Legitimate at long last.
I was too far from the shore when I realized someone had removed the lifeboat and the roundtrip ticket was missing the return flight. I put on my life vest as I shoved feelings of betrayal with the sun beneath the horizon and waited for it all to make sense.
I was no closer, nor further from “right” no matter what I did. It took failure to realize that all of the sacrifices I could offer would never be enough. The betrayed became the betrayer. The cheated became the cheater. The pawn pulled up her skirt and walked herself off the chess board.
… in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing,…
I buried my pathetic efforts to be a good girl and haunted my grave long after the grass grew in knobby tufts over it. The old girl died hard. I finally realized that I had to get out of the passenger seat because the driver’s self interest never took my destination into account.
Nobody was left to judge my efforts. Nobody lengthened my hem, counted my buttons, or made sure I matched. Like being reborn into a parallel dimension where the streets are the same, but the road signs are missing. I was reborn into a Kingdom where Sin has been stripped of his heavy crown. I’m invisible in the world where Sin still gets the last word. He stands in his elaborate shoes and raises his gaudy scepter over the fearful masses to demand death and threaten penalty of penance. But he can’t see me. I’m free from his reign.
…so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
The “Do This” and “Don’t Do That” life is a façade to mask the innate ache for wholeness. Sin wants Christ’s Bridezilla so consumed with external décor that faithless effort wreaks through her pores as she walks, unwashed, down the wrong aisle.
The reign of Sin is only an echo down the canyons and corridors, but nothing more. The old self wants to climb the heights, run the distance, and build itself into a tower of righteousness, but something keeps moving the finish line further away. You think you’re building something for yourself, for God. But when you’re motivated by sin-avoidance, you’re a slave building someone else’s empire.
There exists a life where the wasps no longer patrol the streets waiting to sting you when you swerve. Law offices have been abandoned and the uniformed have found other passions. You wait your turn because you want to, not because you’re afraid not to. You stay in your lane because that’s what you would want someone else to do for you.
You’re not afraid of the judgment of someone in the old life because it doesn’t apply to you. You’re not afraid of God judging you because He has already passed it. Your only concern, now, is to figure out what you’ll do with your freedom.
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.– John 5:22-24 ESV