Weird title right? Death has such a negative connotation to it - loss, grief, depression, nothing, gone. Why would I want to embrace that? Our society lives with this ever present fear of death and the pain it will bring in our lives. I’m including physical death, but my focus on this one is more emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Is it possible that on a daily basis we are in constant self-protection mode trying to keep things alive in our lives hoping that it will keep us from pain? What if this very act of self-protection is actually what is keeping us from what we desire most; life? Stay with me on this one because it gets good. I want to challenge you to embrace death in your life otherwise you will find that death is in fact embracing you; consuming and controlling you with fear. Remove the power of fear death brings and render it powerless by welcoming it and overcoming it by the life giving power of God.
Christ is our perfect example of embracing death. Jesus embraced death so that the world could experience life through him. Jesus says “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10b NLT). How did he give us life? He gave us his life by dying! Without his death we would not have an opportunity to be reborn in the spirit.
We deserve death because of our sin - its the punishment for not trusting God and disobeying his good and perfect direction in our life. If a child didn’t listen to the good direction of looking twice before crossing the street he could suffer the natural consequence of getting hit by a car and possibly dying.If he didn’t die he would be very badly hurt and in pain.
But Jesus was obedient and he still got hurt. He always followed his father’s instruction yet he got whipped, flogged, dragged, beaten, pierced and crucified until he died. He suffered an undeserved punishment - death. It hurt. It was hard. It was excruciating pain that lead to death.Suffering like no other kind of suffering. Before he was crucified, Jesus says to God the father “God if you are willing please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine”. This statement shows just how human Jesus was but at the same time just how God he was.
Let me explain:
Human response: God save me from the pain. Save me from this terrible circumstance. Rescue me from suffering. Get me out of this!!!
Godly response: This will cost me my life but I will obey because I trust you.
Here’s the Katie version of that verse:
"God I don’t want to die. It’s going to hurt I’m going to suffer and it’s not fair... I did everything right! But God, if you think me dying is good then let it happen - I won’t resist it - I won’t run away - I won’t hide - I won’t fight it. I will die completely trusting you with every action and word."
Where are you? Are you more human in your suffering or are you more Jesus? Maybe a mix of both? Here’s an easy way to figure that out.
Are you praying your circumstances away?
If so then you are leaning on your human strength and understanding. Human motivated acts look out for themselves. Paul explains to Timothy that “people who love only themselves ... love pleasure rather than God.” (2 Timothy 3:2-4) .
Are you seeking physical pleasure and comfort over God’s will?
Let’s not get confused with God’s role as provider and comforter. God provides our needs - not our physical comforts. He comforts our soul in times of suffering and uses it for the benefits of others.
“All praises to God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we may comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Are you praying for endurance, patience, and Gods will in your painful experience?
If so then you are leaning on God’s strength and understanding.
“We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his kingdom, for which you are suffering.”
2 Thess 1:4-5
“Dear brothers and sisters when troubles come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing”
Jesus’s faith was perfect and visible in his obedience until death. He was tempted by Satan and remained steadfast with God. He walked through pain confident in God’s ability to bring life from death.
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross...Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that YOU MAY not grow weary or faint-hearted”
Jesus is our role model who we get to look to because he made our faith perfect when he completely obeyed and trusted God. He obeyed God with Joy even though that meant suffering greatly by dying on the cross. Think about him. Think about Jesus. Consider him as he went through torment and torture from people who despised him and had nothing but hatred for him. He did all of that so YOU MAY feel full of God’s strength and not get easily discouraged . I can’t get over that. He suffered and became weak and died so that we could become strong and alive. What an exchange.
You and your human desires need to die. They cannot please God they will simply always seek self-fulfillment and pleasure. Fear will control you as you forever run away from the expected pain of death.
Once your will idies (becomes nothing, is gone forever) you will be reborn by the same spirit that raised Jesus from the death. Jesus eternal life alive in you will create a heart and spirit that yearns for Gods understanding in every circumstance which will produce much joy in suffering and death. Just as Jesus did.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
What is God going to birth in your life when you embrace death? You can tell death and all the fear it brings that he is welcome in your life because he will encounter Jesus - the resurrection of life who lives in you. Embrace death knowing that God has the ability to turn it into life and life abundant!
In Truth and Love,