Romans 6:1-11

In recent years, we’ve confronted enough life or death situations to last a lifetime. Viral surges, long ER wait times, rescheduled surgeries. Our phones constantly alert us to the reality that life is fragile. Is there a way to turn off these notifications?

Yet Paul leans into life-and-death language to describe what it means to follow Christ: dead to sin (v. 11), alive in God (v. 11), buried with Christ in baptism (v. 4), raised to walk in newness of life (v. 5). Discipleship involves a daily awareness of what leads to life or death.

For me, being alive in God involves certain things: regular breaks for rest, laughter, and play, feeling grounded, extending grace and compassion, and intentionally turning my anxieties into deep-breathing prayers. Grace always invites me to release what leads to soul-death and embrace what leads to soul-life. I don’t always take the extended hand that Grace offers. “Thank you, God. I’ll stay right here,” I say, then wonder why I’m stuck in the same worn-out place.

Yet Grace stays present, visible to us through Christ. Grace makes change, healing, and renewal possible. When we need raising, Grace raises us to walk in newness of life. Grace teaches me to put down my self-important work, to take my eyes off the soul-churning wind and waves of my phone screen, to release judgment and vengeance, to say “no” to worry. These divestments can feel like a kind of death.

Over the last thirty-two months, life and death notifications have filled our lives. How has Christ been present when they came? Have we discerned what leads us to death’s drudgery and to life’s hopefulness? Will we keep learning new ways that will lead us to life today? 


What is one life-and-death situation you faced over the past two years? What do you need to process with God about that experience today? 


God who brings us through death and raises us to walk in newness of life, help us notice what is life-draining and what is life-giving. Give us wisdom to discern the difference and grace to choose life with you. Amen.

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