Living While Dead

Our church regularly performs Infant Dedication, a ceremony in which the parents dedicate themselves publicly to raise their child as a Christian and the congregation dedicates itself to supporting the parents in this holy work. Parents choose a special verse for their child, one intended to guide them in the ways of Christ through their lives. Psalm 23:1, Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16, and Philippians 4:13 are popular.

This is a difficult time for our family, with me retiring from active duty in the US Army and us relocating to a new state. Our friends face conflict; one father berating himself for being chronically impatient with his children and another for spending so little time with his. Several couples have become empty nesters in the past few years, and miss their children painfully. Many friends have reached middle age, doubt that their current work is meaningful, and don’t know what to do in the second half of their career. Perhaps a long forgotten baby dedication verse would give us all hope…and peace.

We all struggle with who we are, and with finding our place in the world. A young lady in my employ yesterday told me that she doesn’t need validation, but of course she does; we all do. Another explains and defends herself with almost every other phrase. Many people are emotionally crushed by the slightest insult, and others react angrily to the smallest correction. Relationships rupture over words spoken harshly or misunderstood. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are independent, and that we want to be. Too often we go through life alone.

The fires of our ambition consume our youth, our marriage, and our children’s most tender years, leaving us sitting alone in dark rooms with the walls covered in long forgotten accolades. The frost of our greed freezes our compassion into the ice of indifference, leaving us using people to get things rather than using things to bless people.  My uncle is selling the family business, one which has lasted for generations. He said that over the years he has spent a lot of time building it; too much time.

I do not know if I was ever formally dedicated as a baby, and certainly don’t know the verse if I was. If I could go back in time and select my own Infant Dedication verse, it would be Galatians 2:20.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

This verse describes a progression; first Paul is crucified with Christ, then he is raised with Christ to live the life of Christ on this earth. In light of this truth, how should Christians live?

The Dead have no future, but Christ entrusts His future into the hands of the Father

When we are crucified with Christ, we give up all of our hopes and dreams for the future. We walk with Him, learning to follow His lead, and eventually He begins to reveal our future to us. He never gives us the whole picture at once, but divulges a little bit at a time, just enough for us to take the next step. God’s word is a lamp to us (Psalm 119:105), but ancient lamps are not like modern flashlights; they only illuminate a few feet ahead. With each step forward in faith, we see the next step.

What we find is that the God who made us gives us a better future than we had hoped for, but shorn of the poor priorities and sinful desires. If we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4). The Lord will not honor selfishness and ingratitude, but His plans will be full of excitement, fellowship, work, and love. We will suffer, but we will prevail. God gives us a future far more wonderful than anything we could have imagined. Fully following Jesus is the greatest adventure.

The Dead don’t struggle with who they are, but Christ knows who He is, the Son of God.

There are two reasons for Christians not to struggle with our identity; we are dead to sin and self, and we are sons of God. Charles Spurgeon famously said,

“Brother, if any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied, for if he knew you better he might change the accusation, and you would be no gainer by the correction. If you have your moral portrait painted, and it is ugly, be satisfied; for it only needs a few blacker touches, and it would be still nearer the truth.[1]

The natural man is morally impoverished; unwilling to seek God and unable to be righteous (Romans 3:10-11). Every part of the moral nature of unregenerate man is corrupt. Never believe that man is inherently good; always understand that he is evil. Our disease is so bad that death to sin and self is the only cure, and so we are crucified with Christ. If we are dead to ourselves, why do we struggle with our identity? Does a corpse struggle with who he is? Do the dead try to make themselves look good to those around?

When we are raised with Christ, we receive His Spirit. Whatever goodness we think we have is not the point; Jesus’ goodness is what matters. The Son was morally perfect. His validation derived from the promises of Scripture and from the love of the Father and Holy Spirit, and our validation comes from the same place. We love others as Jesus loved them, but as His trust was not in men, neither is ours. Jesus’ love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His self-control become ours (Galatians 5:22-23).

Despite the Spirit of Christ in us, we continue to sin, both by both omission and commission. Paul describes this pitiful state in Romans 7; sin is so organic to us that we cannot shake it on this side of heaven. Nevertheless, since we are crucified with Christ, the hold of sin on our hearts weakens and one day we will be forever free. We need not struggle with our identity because we gain His identity. Day by day Jesus makes us more like Him (Philippians 2:12).

Dead men don’t have ambition, and Christ’s only ambition is the will of the Father

Dead men no longer want the praise of men; they no longer wish to be in the history books. Napoleon said that “glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever”, and that is the mantra of modern man. If there is no eternal life, earthly fame is indeed fleeting, but it is also meaningless. Glory has no benefit over obscurity if the end of both is the grave. If there is eternal life, goodness and not fame is what matters. And we know that there is eternal life.

Our dreams of personal glory must die when we are crucified with Christ. They must be replaced with dreams of God’s glory and obedience to Him. Our desperate striving to be better than everyone else, or at least feel ourselves equal to everyone else, give way to a burning desire to discover how good God is, and to share Him with others. The Creator is the ground of all reality; the root from which all else grows. The universe and everything in it are utterly dependent upon Him. All beauty, power, and goodness in the cosmos emanate directly from the Lord. He is worthy of an eternity of praise and a thousand lifetimes of study. The ambition of the Christian is to become like Him.

During His earthly walk, Christ’s ambition was to perfectly follow the Father, thinking, saying, and doing everything that He asked so that the Father would be glorified. The Christian has the same ambition. Some people will accomplish this as kings and presidents, others as cab drivers and secretaries, and still others as soldiers and doctors. Most people will glorify God as moms and dads. No role is better than any other; obedience is what counts. The lies that money, fame, and power are proper goals, that we should always be striving for more, and that one man can be better than another sucks days from our lives and life from our days.

Ultimately, God gives His people something far better than history books, in which other men decide the measure of each life, and which few people read. He gives us eternal life. In eternity, people won’t need to read about us; we can tell them our story ourselves.

Dead men don’t need stuff, and Christ only had the stuff that He needed to accomplish His mission

“You can’t take it with you”, “You are born with nothing; you die with nothing”, “naked you came from your mother’s womb and naked you shall return (Job 1:21)” are only three of the many ways of saying that in eternity, possessions don’t matter. Yet we buy more and more, filling our homes and emptying our wallets in the vain pursuit of happiness from things. When our homes overflow, we rent storage units and buy bigger houses for furniture, clothes, toys, computers, and hundreds of other things that we rarely use. Life is made of time, yet we spend time paying for our stuff, cleaning our stuff, moving our stuff, and storing our stuff. We break relationships when people misuse our stuff, and feel superior to others because we have more stuff. We are no different than the rich fool; one day while we are building bigger barns, our souls will be required of us (Luke 12:16-20). We think that we own our stuff, but in truth, our stuff owns us.

To crucified with Christ is to lose all of your stuff, and to be raised with Him is to live free from slavery to possessions. Like all material beings, Jesus needed material things to live on earth. But He only had what He truly needed to accomplish His Father’s mission. Jesus spent time with people, not things. To be crucified with Christ is to do the same.

Are you moving to a new location? Don’t sell stuff; give it away. Are you shopping for something new to make you feel better? Leave the mall and take a walk in a park instead. Did water damage ruin the stuff in a storage unit that you haven’t opened in years? Thank God for freeing you from those possessions.

Conclusion

The Lord is our Shepherd, God has wonderful plans for us, God loves us, and we can do all things through Christ. All those verses contain beautiful promises suitable to start a young life. But Christians young and old are also crucified with Christ, and He is living His life in us. If we understand these truths; if we live while dead, we will be more like Him forever. That is the most beautiful promise of all.

[1] David Dancing Before the Ark Because of His Election, http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2031.php

3 thoughts on “Living While Dead

  1. Good Day, wow. I thought I was reading my own thoughts!. Do you realize how rare these beliefs truly are? I have not met one other than yourself who believes this. It reveals that you KNOW Him. Most only Know about Him and believe this is knowing Him, they are unaware of this and believe that like you, they also Know Him.

    I am in my mid 70’s and have been a believer all my life. In my church as a child I watched people. They were different beings at home than at church. I told HIM when I grow up I am going to talk like your are real, act like you are real, live like you are real for those in my church were not real.

    My mother died when I turned 9 and my mother’s sister, a widow with 4 children had to clean homes for a living. She became our caretaker in our home. I saw a woman who loved Him, who knew Him, lived in great joy and she revealed to us one whom my heart desired.

    I remember praying and the two scriptures saying ask of me what you will and I will give it to you, what so ever your heart desires I will give to you. My prayer was for one thing only….that I might please YOU. Many years later I shared this with a young woman in the church I attended at the time. and she laughed at me and put her arm around me saying, oh calling my name, you do not understand the scriptures! They actually mean to ask for wealth/mansions/cars and my stomach sunk and I knew she never met Him. What have I need of such things for I have HIM.

    I learned people are His treasure, not things. I loved your article! One day He said to me, calling my name, you can only keep what you give away.

    Due to mistakes by drs/hospitals, I have spent much time there over the past 30 years and He has kept me alive. I have had a most wonderful life with Him all the time. I no longer entered in, I moved in and live there. I drag this body around=you see, I learned I am not my body. He keeps me alive and told me I did not die for the breath I breathe is His and no one can take it from me, only He can. I run after Him and everyone would if they Knew Him, I can not leave Him alone.

    He came to visit me when I was in a coma 1/1987 and awakened me, I knew Him before I became ill=did not know I was born with a condition where my triglycerides were made constantly and reached such a huge # that my pancreas began bleeding. Since then I have had many serious medical problems, drs making may mistakes over the years, yet despite drs calling in my family to see me one last time, He kept me alive each time. He told me, never ever say you have been through anything, say rather He has brought me through many things.

    While He is my great and dear friend, He is first the Creator, Holy is He.

    Not too many months ago I received a Book, called the Divine Book, the Cepher from Cepher Publishing, cepher.net editor Stephen Pidgeon and I must say reading in this one has changed me for all those books removed by the emperor Constantine and all the pagan ideas, etc adopted by the Romans which the early church so admired their taking up Easter and Christmas and even a name not His they dismissed the Seven Feasts of the Lord to adopt these pagan ideas. Constantine, fearful of losing the Romans, chose Christianity believing that would control the Romans. It worked for they loved all things pagan. In these last days we are learning that which our Creator Father is teaching us, the Book of Enoch written for us for these days.

    I read years ago online the Book of Enoch, I did not know at the time that it was a fake one and was not at all like the real one. I have loved reading those books! The Book of Jasher, Jubilees, Baruk 1 and 2! wow and so many others and wow the things I learned. Oh, Joseph, an angel came and in one night taught him the 70 languages needed to speak to become ruler under the great nation of Egypt at that time. Noah, whose great grandfather was Enoch who having learned there would be a flood prayed that one of his progeny would save his people from the flood. That prayer resulted in the birth of Noah.

    His father, Lemech, was fearful of the child and all agreed his appearance was like an angel and when he opened his eyes the whole house lit up.

    And oh so much more about Abraham and everyone! Revealed in those books in the Cepher.

    I am waxing quite wordy, which I always do when speaking of Him. The tongue dances when doing so, Hebrew is what I want so much to learn. I wanted to take Hebrew as a language but due to drs mistakes which were/are many I lost my upper airway and all that is in it. I could not make sound and I prayed I said YOU say in Ps over and over to praise you in a loud voice, I can make no sound. To me this is a commandment and if I can not praise YOU in a loud voice, I shall die. That same day I began to speak.

    Recently moving to this city/state I had to see a new ENT physician and must have a trip to the OR each year and while I was alseep he peeked into my upper airway and nothing there…he came to my bedside in recovery and bent down asking me, how do you do this for it is impossible for you to speak and I told him I prayed. He later was telling that I could speak because I had learned to trap air in my mouth. No, my speech is nothing like that. That is why many drs thought they could help me as I can speak. Upon looking in the upper airway they learned they could not help me. They could not look it prior to surgery for all is filled with scar tissue preventing their looking in when awake.

    I had been in the hospital in 1/87 due to pancreas bleeding, gangrene of the belly and ARDS of the lungs. The did surgery on my pancreas and parked me in ICU to die. The refused to protect my airway and their keeping me intubated destroyed my upper airway. They insisted I could not possibly live but I did live and spent many years in hospitals/doctors for many serious medical issues and many surgeries. Yet, I am alive. I do not appear to be ill. Yet, I have a body with every organ sick but you see He keeps me alive anyway.

    I want to thank you for your article. You know when I speak to others and share certain things, their eyes appear to glaze over, they do not hear nor do they understand what I say. They seem to freeze in time and when I finish they become animated once again, continuing to speak having not heard any of what I shared.

    My spouse retired from the military in 1983. He passed away in 2013. We moved many times and as I have moved in with my oldest daughter they are transfered in their jobs to other states, I still move and she takes care of me.

    We watch and wait for Him to come to take us where He is for that was His promise. IN the Cepher in the book of Enoch our Creator Father often speaks of the culmination of all things when completed…and there have been more than one of these. Learning His Name that is above all Names, what a treat! In the Book of Enoch He explains to Enoch I want them to Know for I love them and want them to know everything. Thus the Book of Enoch written for us.

    Shalom Chaverim, Gail I do not know if you will receive this. Due to the hacking of my emails at gmail I can not log in at WordPress and can not comment on some blogs there, some I can. I can not log in due to this and I do not do any social media.

  2. Good Morning, Please forgive me for sending this in addition to what I sent previously today. My comment was actually a personal one for you.

    I would like to add that I am highly honored that He allows one such as I to know Him. I am very highly honored that He allows one such as I to speak His Name. I am so extremely highly honored that He allows me to love Him with the love He gives me for Him. Ahh, we are most highly blessed with these greatest blessings and the honor is all ours. We have everything when we have HIM, is that not true?

    He told all He is returning and His reward is with Him. The secret truth revealed to us is that He is the most excellent reward we can receive!

    My heart dances when I hear another speak who loves Him. Rather like when Elizabeth went to see Mary while both with child and the babe leaped for the presence of Messiah was there. I can hear those who love Him as their tongue dances speaking of Him, their heart dances because He abides within them, there in that hollow place in our heart. Scientists say they know not what this space means….well, it is where He resides within, that Holy Spirit come to comfort us.

    He told me when I came home from the hospital after weeks of being there to learn Hebrew things and my sisters and I began with the Feasts of the Lord. I must say I have been wowed over and over again since that time 30 years ago. I knew Him long before since a child but these things opened up so much more we should have known. Learning of Him, His Ways, His Words, how delightful it is!

    This and I shall close…One day He said, calling my name, I know your heart and now I shall reveal mine to you….I had no idea that this was in the form of the Divine Book, the Cepher==the cepher from cepher.net and those wonderful books speaking of Him and His Father and of us. There are other Cepher’s that have been published but this one from Stephen Pidgeon is soooo good. He is an atty who much like Jay Sekulow argues cases before the Supreme Court, is a Jewish believer. Speaks 6 languages and he with other fellows of like interests put this together over a long period to time.

    Even the preface of this Cepher is delightful and reveals to us secrets of our Father and His Son and our Family. That Name, the true name that is above all Names revealed. He wants to be called by His Name. He had appeared to me in the past and looked back at me saying. … Call ME by MY NAME. Then I received this Cepher. Please forgive me as I am most wordy speaking of Him, it is very difficult to stop when speaking of Him, is it not? Shalom Chaverim

    May you have a most excellent day and an even better tomorrow.

    Shalom Chaverim, ga

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