It is one thing to celebrate the news that Jesus is risen from the dead. It is quite another to grasp the reality behind the event and experience victory over death for ourselves. Whether we have lost a loved one, watched helplessly as a marriage died, were forced to change careers midstream, moved away from home to a place where no one knew us and no one cared, or suffered from a deeply threatening illness, we all have had to die to the self we thought we were.
If we have also experienced sort of personal resurrection, we are different persons than we were before the critical event occurred. Yet, even though we have grown in patience and strength of character and have learned to live more fully out of our faith, the residue of past relationships still plays out in the ways we relate to others. We are, if you will, only modified versions of who we were before.
Whether or not we intend to do so, we take our past with us into our future. Paul argued that we need to allow God to wash away all the residue of the past and truly die to ourselves. Then God can raise us, like Jesus, to a radically new way of being.