Why We Need a Better Bumper Sticker


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you. 

Jesus, We belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Romans 6:11–14 (NIV)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.


In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

In the same way as what? Let’s remember back a verse earlier:

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. (v.10)

In the same way as Jesus died to sin once for all and rose from the grave to live to God. That’s how we count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God—we do it in Christ Jesus. We remember, in vivid detail and full color, the life and death and life of Jesus. We remember we are baptized into his life and death and life—which is to say we no longer live but he lives in us. 

Most of the time, most people simply do not get what the New Testament is saying about the Christian life. We think of it as a moral or ethical life. We approach Jesus as a moral and ethical exemplar who lived a life completely beyond ours and which would, in fact, be impossible to emulate yet we must die trying. This approach can be best summarized in three words: believe and behave. Of course that doesn’t work which results in putting bumper stickers on our cars that say things like, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven,” and “Jesus is my co-pilot.” 

Jesus, in fact, tells us to “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). He doesn’t mean perfect as we think of perfect. We think of perfect as flawless. The Bible thinks of perfect not as flawlessness but as fullness—the fullness of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Now watch where the text takes us:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

But how?

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness,

But how?

So far this could be interpreted as saying, “Believe and behave.” But then comes the secret sauce: 

but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life;

The way is not believing and behaving. The way is made by beholding and becoming. This is the way of fullness. Because Jesus has wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and unreservedly offered himself to God for us, we can now wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and unreservedly offer ourselves to God for him. And then he wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and unreservedly offers the Holy Spirit to fill us with all the fullness of Jesus—for our good, for others’ gain, and for the Father’s glory. 

And that, my friends, is perfect. 

Because of the pervasiveness of perfectionism, I tend to stay away from the word altogether, but the bumper sticker we need is the one that says, “I’m not just forgiven. I’m being made perfect,” and “Jesus is my pilot.”


My God! My Goodness! My Lord Jesus Christ. You are perfection personified and somehow as you fill us with yourself you bring us to perfection, and yet it is a perfection that is ever-growing and never-ending. It is a fullness that is ever admitting more of you. Holy Spirit, thank you for making us alive in Jesus—”our living Head, and clothed with righteousness divine.” And so we offer—I offer—my life to you, wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and unreservedly; all yours. And you are all mine. And because of what you did, I am now dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Make it so more and more and more and more—from one degree of glory to the next. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Are you beginning to grasp the difference between the “Believe and Behave” approach and the “Behold and Become” approach? Are you understanding how this must begin, middle, and end in keeping our lives consecrated unto Jesus—completely dead to the old self and the old life and completely alive to God in Christ—more life, more love, more everything that matters? 


“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” hymn festival continues today. We will add a new verse. I want to hear you belting it out today with all you’ve got.  It is hymn 279 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.  As we offer the song let’s sing it like it carries the very offering of our whole lives today. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. Join me today at noon for the REVEAL of the next Wake-Up Call series and some breaking news from my life and calling. 

We will be broadcasting live at noon central time on our Wake-Up Call Facebook page. I will also be sharing the news in an email soon to be sent in case you can’t watch. It will be available on the page for later viewing as well. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I am beginning to better understand how this whole sanctification process is truly a total makeover accomplished solely by God’s grace alone. Submission on our part is required, but the key is less of me and more of of Jesus as the Holy Spirit does His part. I must decrease and Jesus must increase as I grow in grace and knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Screens and their sights and sounds are a much bigger problem than bumper stickers.

    Humanity today
    Is surrounded by
    Constant distractions
    And ungodly attractions
    Phones, TVs,
    Music, movies
    And sin-filled screens
    That scream,
    “Look at me!”
    Sometimes that’s all
    We can hear or see.
    O, me!
    How will we ever
    “Behold the Lamb of God”?
    How can we be
    “Dead to sin,”
    When we live in
    Focused attention on it
    And let it sift
    Our heart and mind
    And shift
    Us away from
    Focusing on Jesus
    Day in and day out?

  3. Yes, and amen.
    We don’t “become” like Christ through behavior modification. This is the flesh trying to change the flesh and broken can’t fix broken. Tying to change in this fashion, life is a rollercoaster, up and down, or a game of Red Rover, back and forth.

    Behavior change is a steady incline as we “become” more like Christ, loving Him as He loves us. As we decrease and He increases, our fruit changes from sinful consequences to spiritual blessings.

    Matthew 7:17-20
    So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

    Jesus offers a reference point for our position of loving Him. Do you love your neighbor as yourself? And so we aren’t confused about the noisy, irritable neighbor, He added, “I say love your enemy” Matthew 5:44.

    Can we automatically love as Jesus loves? Where His mind becomes our mind? Scripture says to be perfect as the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and to be Holy as I am Holy (1 Peter 1:16). If scripture says we can, we can. But it happens by becoming like Christ, not trying to behave morally.
    Jesus tells us to get off the roller coaster and stop playing Red Rover.
    Stop playing Hide ‘n Seek.
    Jesus shouts, “All in, All in, Everybody out there all in free.”

    Staying 💪’n Christ.

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