Definitely dying in the physical sense, but I'm talking about dying in the spiritual sense.
The kind of death that needs to happen so that we can be raised to newness of life. That's what the Bible refers to when it talks about the need for a kernel of wheat to fall and die in order to produce a harvest.
We say we get it, but somewhere just beneath our Christianese babbling, we wonder if it's true. Is it the only way?
Is This Any Way To Live?
Do we really have to die?
In other words, isn't it good enough that I admit wrong doing and move on? I mean, I know I was wrong and I'm sorry, but what about all the times I get it right? It's like an alcoholic saying, I know I had a drink, but what about the twelve months I have been sober?
We don't want to die. We don't want to give up. We don't want to wave the white flag. We will do anything but admit defeat and plead for help from another. C'mon, we're self-sufficient.
It's the only responsible way to live, right? I am independent, I don't need anyone...I'm strong. I am willing to give in on some things, but for the most part, I need to flex my muscles. Right? It's all about balance - you just have to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.
But, is that any way to live? Trying to balance it all out hoping against hope that it will all wash out in the end? Hoping that tomorrow you will even the scorecard and get it all right? The problem with trying to live like that is we never get it right. Think about it, if you could have gotten your life together by now, wouldn't you have done it? If you could have ironed out all your relational troubles, your financial woes and your nasty bad habits, you would have...right?
|The Vision of St. Francis - John A. Kohan|
Robert Capon comments; "When you think about it, dying is simply the world's worst way of living."
He is referring to the way we grasp at living. We are in a perpetual state of grasping for, not letting go. We literally have a "death grip" on our life and settle for dying because we are too afraid to actually die. We are celebrating this paltry life that looks more like dying, when we should be celebrating death and the new life it brings. Capon continues by stating that "Only death is usable in the new creation. Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to raise the living; and he especially did not come to raise the dying, (John 11:1-16). As long as you and I are just hanging on to life, Jesus cannot do a thing for us." - The Parables of Grace
Interestingly, the cross was not about holding on and letting go. It was not about achieving equilibrium between our way and God's way.
If Jesus had his way, death on that cross would not have been part of the plan. He asked God to take it away.
We Need A Better Strategy
Our life-grasping strategies look like balance-seeking...a perfect card game of holding and folding.
Jesus' strategy looks like death. His death looked first and foremost like letting go, submitting, and trusting.
Grasping on to dying is no way to live. God's strategy to bring life out of death is the key to giving in and giving up on our sorry pursuits of living a life that looks like a balancing act. It's exhausting.
All you have to do is be dead.
We will be healed by his stripes; death and not living will be the instrument of our salvation."