They say death is a part of life.
What if death was life?
The world sends us messages every day. It tells us what we need and want and must have. It tells us we are worthy and special and entitled. Even Burger King says "[I] can have it [my] way". The world makes my life all about me. I can be anyone I want to be. I can do anything I want to do. Life is what I make of it and then I die. That seems so sad to me. No wonder people fear death. They make their whole life about themselves and then often beyond their complete control life ends without their say-so.
What if we died long before the end of our lives? What if we willingly gave our lives up? What if we lived every minute not for self? Wouldn't that be completely opposite from the way the world chooses to live? Perhaps that is exactly where we need to start.
I can hear it now. "What does all of this have to do with love? She has completely lost it."
When I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord my body became the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in me. Something dawned on me this week. If I live my life for myself, how can anyone see God in me? He is there. I believe it. But all too often I make my life about me. My wants. My needs. My opinions. I don't seek first the kingdom of God. Don't get me wrong. I invite him to be a part of my daily life. But what if God was my whole life? What would my life look life if I surrendered it all to him? People would see God, that is what it would look like. Every day it would be undeniable. My life would look completely opposite than the world defines it. With my death to self comes His life. And if they see God in me, they see LOVE.
I think about a girl who lives in Uganda and has given her whole life to God. Even as Christians we look at that and think "Wow, how could she do that? Give up her "life of luxury" and move to a poor country indefinitely?" Her life is not her own. She died long ago. So when we see Katie Davis, we see God's LOVE and we can't deny it. It looks different from the world.
What if every Christian lived that way? Not move to an African country (to serve the poor and take in orphans) per se but chose to die so that He could fully live in them. When you take yourself out of the spotlight of your own life it is amazing what comes naturally from the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. When we only give God a portion of our life to try and squeeze His Spirit into, it often gets drowned out by self, by the cares of this world. Our attempt at love, joy, peace, etc. by our own strength seems to reflect the world's definitions of those things rather than God Himself. Even striving to be kind/good/gentle for the right motives (to please God) makes our life about us. It is not until we die to ourselves that we see Him living in us.
I hope someone will speak at my memorial service someday and say, "Today we are thankful for her life because it was not her own. She actually died (long ago) in 2012 and after that all we saw was God's love." Wouldn't funerals be a lot more joyful? OK, maybe they would still be sad, but if we had died to self long before the end our own life God would be seen in our life and death. We wouldn't be remembered as a "good person". When they knew us on earth, they knew God because our life completely reflected who he is. I want to live like that.
You know who else lived like that? Jesus. He came to earth to sacrifice his own life to save us from our sin. He made a way for us to come to God and have a relationship with him. But while he was here, she showed us how to live. He showed us how to really LOVE.
More to come...