(Our family has just spent a week in Colorado Springs for my (Andrews) Masters program with Fuller Theological Seminary. It was a two week intensive that rocked my world, and so… I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve had as a result, with you. I’ll divide these thoughts into two sections, one for each week we were here. Enjoy.)
What do you do when you realize you’re dying?
What do you do when you realize who you are is fading away?
I’ve been in this process for a long long time, but it’s been compounded and put on “fast forward” in the last four months, and even more so in the last week.
I’m dying… And it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me!
Now let me clarify, before you send my wife some flowers and start planning what to say at my funeral… although everyday I live is one day closer to death, I don’t (as far as I am aware) have any critical life threatening conditions at the moment. I’m not physically dying other than ageing… but I am dying. Let me explain…
I’m a Christian. Most people who know me, know this. When I say Christian, I don’t mean, “I go to church and try to do the right thing in life.”
I mean, I do my best (by Gods grace) to follow the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ, and through Him I have a relationship with God. I mean, I believe it when the Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) I take John 3:16 literally too, I believe God loves me and that Jesus lived and died and rose again so that I might not have to die for eternity but can spend eternity in heaven. I also believe God wants to use me to be an example of what the Kingdom of God might look like, and to help others realize the Kingdom of God is coming and through Jesus, is already here!
So… how is it I am dying you may ask?
The Bible also says, “I’ve been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
I’m dying because the more I live for God and make room for Him, the more I die to myself and there is less room for me. Who I was is dying, but be happy, who I am becoming is coming to life in a big way!
It may shock you, but I struggle with pride. Sometimes, I actually think that I’m ok, and that I can do this thing called life (including leadership, ministry and marriage) just fine on my own…
Oh how wrong I am!
Jeremiah 17:9 says that a persons’ heart is “deceitful (or wicked) above all things.”
If I try doing this all on my own it will only end in wickedness, deceitfulness and ultimately death.
Not the kind of death I’m experiencing… But rather the kind of death that happens when you let sin live, that’s a much worse death than intentionally killing off your “flesh”
that death last for Eternity
the death I’m experiencing brings eternity!
If I’ve lost you at this point, I’m sorry… I’ll try to be clear: you either choose to lose your sinful life and in turn end up finding your new righteous life… Or you chose to keep your sinful life, and you end up losing your righteous life and your eternal life altogether…
I’m choosing to lose my sinful life… And a warning, it’s not easy… But it is so worth it.
It’s probably no surprise to you that I want to do something significant with the life I have (you choose which one I’m talking about, new or old- maybe both!)… I’m sure we all do. So, in closing, if you haven’t been convinced that my dying is a good thing… I’d like to share a thought I had in class this week as we learned about Spiritual formation, and the need to lead out of who we are, not what we do… This class so helped me realize how much I still needed to die to myself.
“Leaders are born. But no great leader in the Kingdom climbs to their position. Rather, they continually humble themselves until they get to such a lowly place that God might lift them up, for His glory.”
What do you do when you realize you are dying?
You start living life to the full!
(To be continued in part B…)