If you ever have in enormous amount of time to kill, do an internet search on “near death experience”… you will find page after page of returns; definitions, articles, and even videos of people explaining how they were at death’s door but were then whisked back to this life. Those are not the examples that I’m looking for this morning…
There are several times in scripture where we are told that we are to die to our own desires, die to sin, die to the life that we lived before we followed Jesus. The truth that I have to admit is that there are days that I know I’m out of sync with God… times when I’m still stuck in old patterns… and I’m left to think that I’ve merely had near death experiences, but never faced the cross as Jesus did.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:6 (NLT)
It’s one thing to read that, another thing to say that, but am I convinced of that? No, not every day. Most people that have near death experiences are relived that they didn’t go all the way there. I’m feeling a bit sickened that the old me doesn’t seem to be completely dead. The truth is that when I’m discouraged or disappointed, I’m more likely to resort to old coping mechanisms that should have been done away with instead of falling at Jesus’ feet and seeking his comfort and guidance. I’m so thankful for God’s Word; because it will always provide the answers, even when I try to convince myself that I can fix things on my own.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 (The Message)
Hello Lord, it’s me… I’m so sorry for the times that I run from you… sorry for the times that I am merely complacent with what I know to be true. Help me to recognize when I’m repeating old patterns that take me away from you. Help me to understand what it means to die with Christ so that I might better live for you. I commit to seeking your face again and again. In the name of the Resurrection and the Life, amen.