I knew a man of miserable existence.
Self-centered and materialistic to the core, though it never did a good job of covering up chronic feelings of deep seeded inadequacy.
Having traveled a bumpy road he was filled with dashed hopes, and too afraid to truly dream– because dreaming simply hurts too much for one who knows what it is like to be on the wrong end of a dream.
Inadequacy, reverse pride, and a wounded spirit led to anger… perhaps even hatred, that permeated from the pores of his being, poisoning anything it touched.
He was hopelessly broken.
Today, that man is dead, and I couldn’t be happier about that fact– because truth be told, I hated myself.
Part of one of my tattoo sleeves says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live”. It reminds me of who I once was… it reminds me of the man I have worked so hard to put to death.
However, somewhere along the way I began to experience Christianity as always putting something to death. In some cases, this is good and right and so absolutely necessary. I needed to put so many aspects of my old self to death.
Yet, the danger I’ve discovered is when we make a core aspect of Christian living always looking for things to put to death.
Christians often become known as the people you can count on to stand up and say, “this must die”.
We become obsessed with it. And, it becomes second nature to us. After all, we wear crosses around our necks, not empty tombs.
Lucky for us, there’s always something we can find which bids us to stand up and shout “this needs to die”. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, this “thing” that needs to die is usually a perceived failure or sin in someone else, and not our own self. This systemic obsession with always looking for things to kill tends to be addictive because it is a system typically stacked in our favor.
The stuff that really, really pisses you off? Well, it’s probably the stuff they’re doing. I know it’s that way for me.
On this basis alone, we ought completely scrap the entire system and begin seeing things through new narrative– a narrative of resurrection.
Instead of being the people who seek out things in the lives of others and seek things out in culture so that we may again say, “this must be put to death”, my prayer is that we would begin to express Christianity in a new way. My prayer is that instead of a hyper-death focus, we’d be the people who seek out things that are beautiful yet broken and instead shout: “This must live!”That we would be known as the people who help resurrect instead of destroy.
Ah… that we would become not people of death, but people of life.
You see, putting my old self to death, only got me so far. To be honest– it only got me to the bottom.
Sometimes when you shed off everything that hinders you from running the race with perseverance, you realize that you’ve been left naked without so much as a decent pair of running shoes.
And so, putting things to death becomes functionally inadequate when that’s the main or singular focus. People don’t need another voice in their lives saying “this part of you must die”– we’ve got plenty of those. People instead need more voices looking into their lives and saying this must live!
People need a resurrection.
I needed a resurrection.
Christianity is not simply built on the atonement of the cross– but on the significance of the empty tomb.
Christianity is founded upon the resurrection. And not simply upon the resurrection that happened 2,000 years ago– but on the resurrections that can and do still happen today.
After all this time, God is still in the business of resurrecting lives.
People need lives rebuilt, brokenness made whole again and balm rubbed on wounds. People need friends who will say to themselves “I see words of life and words of death set before me- and this day, I choose life”.
So many of us need a resurrection. So many of those around us need us to in turn become resurrection people who live for the high calling of helping people experience new life, amidst a million deaths.
It’s never too late my friends.
Whether it’s your marriage, relationships with your children, your old hurts or deep, deep wounds from yesteryear– it’s never too late to participate in the resurrection.
I believe one of the central aspects of the message of Jesus is that new life is available if we’re willing to choose it… if we’re willing to choose resurrection.
Yes, I once knew a man of miserable existence– and he died, which was a very good thing. The better news however, was that he discovered that death gives birth to new life, and that this is free for the taking to those willing to embrace the difficult but beautiful process of resurrection.
If you need a resurrection, I’m rooting for you. I love you, I’m on your team, and I’m praying you’ll join me on this crazy Jesus-journey of death that leads to new life.