Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Have you ever watched anything die? Helpless before your eyes? Master gardeners we are not. We like to landscape around the back patio, but our soil is rotten and we are constantly trying to just keep things alive. One year we planted a Spirea bush with gorgeous pink blooms. It was so beautiful for one year. The next year we could not do anything to keep that thing alive. We tended it with waterings and special nutrients. We moved other plants out to give it more space. Once it seemed better, the bugs came. Little tiny insects intent on destroying. We tried every natural remedy known to man and finally brought out the big guns- chemical powder. We had to douse the plant in the powder. The bugs were everywhere. By the end of the summer all that was left of our beautiful bush was brown, dried up, twiggy death. We mourned a bit and walked away. We gave up on gardening and moved on with life.
The next spring, while drinking a cup of morning coffee on the back patio, Dave says, “I think I see flowers.” I walked over to the bush and sure enough, there they were- beautiful little, tiny pink flowers pocketed away on one section of the bush. A beautiful little secret waiting to burst forth. Two weeks later, the bush was huge and covered in gorgeous blooms, stronger and brighter than ever. We call it the Resurrection Spirea, died and risen before our eyes. A work of our Creator.
That bush shares a lesson with us related to these verses. Sometimes things need to die, we need to die, desires in our flesh must die for us to Live. Those desires of the flesh, they eat up everything. They destroy our hearts, relationships, families, and churches. When we follow our flesh we work 60+ hours a week, we spew hurtful words, we are inpatient and ungracious with those we love. But we were put to death in our baptisms by the Creator. We rise with Him and He continues to put to death daily, in us, through the Spirit, the inpatient, the unloving, the selfish, and the dishonorable. We are free. We are Alive in Christ and therefore, different things matter. People matter, relationships matter, He matters. We emerge brighter and stronger, filled with His Life instead of our own attempts at counterfeit life. We grow and flourish under His loving care.