Dying well every day.
There is no mistaking the fact that the Prince of Life calls to every person,
“Come, follow me towards life.”
The glow of His face, the satisfaction in His eyes, and the way in which He speaks of life draws our hopes to a crescendo. Stepping forward, at the call toward Jesus, is one step closer to true life.
For many, following Jesus has ended with the first step of saying yes, “I’ll follow… but…”
Confusion ensues as we start this journey toward life. We see that Jesus is holding heaven in one hand and hell in the other. It seems that there is no heaven without hell. Theologically speaking, there is no life without death. For Jesus to draw us into the heavens, it was necessary for him to pull our humanity through the consequences of sin. For humanity to experience heaven, it took ‘The Human’ to walk through hell. This is the beautiful work of Jesus – humanity and divinity in perfect unity walking through the front doors of hell and kicking out the back wall, setting believing captives free.
The work of Jesus has set us free from our slavery to death. However, does this mean that we can expect our journey towards life to be death free? I wish it did.
Personally, I have died more since attaching my life to Jesus than apart from him. Sometimes the hells that Jesus walks me through are such fiery trials that my walk slows to a crawl. I begin ask myself “How sure am I that this ‘Jesus’ is really leading me toward life and not death?” In moments like this, I have consistently been brought to my knees, barely being able to whisper the prayer “God, my God, Jesus, my Jesus, please… please remember that I am made of but dust. Remember my humanity, remember I can only take so much.”
Some of the most profound moments of abundant life have been birthed from seasons. Yes, seasons. If not years, of wretched death in my inner soul. Sorrow, doubt, heartbreak and rejection have been much of the setting of my journey. Yet Jesus has been my companion, my leader, my friend.
What has been profoundly encouraging to me, is that in the midst of this shadowy journey, when I look to Jesus and still see the hope of heaven in his eyes – His words whispered about life in the shadow of death are all the more beautiful.
As directly as Jesus says:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
He also says:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.
There is a tension we must learn to embrace as we follow Jesus. Life and death are tied together. But, ONLY FOR NOW.
It seems that the road to life for Jesus, as well as His followers, is not escaping the pains of death. It is found walking through the pains of death as we follow Jesus into resurrection life.
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
Our work as servants and disciples of Jesus is simply to
Die well. Every day.
If we want to experience resurrection life in our souls today, we must die well today also.
David Libby is a Pastor at the Summit View Westside Campus church in Vancouver. He is married to Rachel Libby, and together they have four amazingly brilliant and wild children that they get the honor and adventure of raising.
David is passionate about engaging with the local community and he builds intentional relationships with whomever God puts in his path. His desire is that the church would be a place that is safe enough to heal, but dangerous enough to grow.
He is passionate about creating space each week for people to encounter the presence of God. His desire is that the local church would be influential in every aspect of the local community by how we love each other and the those around us.
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