I have some videos my mom took when I was in my 20s. When I see myself then, I see a person who was self conscious and stiff. I lacked vitality, because I guarded myself so closely.
A few years ago I realized that I could pinpoint the time when I began to be truly happy, truly alive. It was when I was baptized and committed my whole self to God for the rest of my life.
Without a wholehearted commitment to God, we are like the walking dead in this world.
We are like shades, shadows, pursuing meaningless things, going through the motions of living.
- You were once dead because of your failures and sins. in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Eph 2:1
- They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Eph 4:18
- People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, . . . having a form of godliness but denying its power. II Tim 3:1-5
But having a relationship with God gives VITALITY, it makes life unbelievably rich and full.
During this Christmas season, it is so meaningful to read what Zacharias prophesied about the coming of the baby Jesus, “the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Zech 1:78-79
Jesus came to animate our dead, dull lives. He conquered death. An impossible feat, and yet he did it! And he takes us by the hand and walks us out of the valley of the shadow of death. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive WITH CHRIST even when we were dead in transgressions.” (Eph 2:4-5b) The word for “made alive” means actually “made alive together with.” We weren’t just brought to a new life. We were joined with Jesus and were brought to life WITH HIM.
Here are some more verses about being made alive.
- The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.
- For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
- He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
- Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him Col 3:10
- Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. I Cor 6:10
Yesterday I listened to a Ted talk on depression by Andrew Solomon. It really impacted me. He said the opposite of depression is vitality. As he quoted from someone else, depression is “a slower way of being dead.”
So many people are like the walking dead. The joy of life has leaked out of them. A worldly life of sin has deceived them. The things they did to find happiness instead destroyed it.
Jake asked a question in our midweek class last night, “How many people truly know how to live?” Most of us don’t. We follow our own best wisdom, and we think we’re doing well. Then one day we wake up in a slimy pit that’s too slippery to escape.
What is the solution? How do we know how to live? Christ left an example on how to live, how to really live. God created life, he made the blueprint. Jesus walked in the way man was created to walk. As Jake said last night, we need to not just walk the path, but walk the way Jesus did.
Solomon said the best way of coping with depression is to find value in it. He learned to love his depression because it forced him to find and cling to joy. Each day he made a decision to cleave to the reasons for living.
In other words, Solomon found that his life wasn’t just random. There was purpose and meaning in it.
And that is what will change our lives. We need to realize that we weren’t just thrown here on this earth, and our days are not just a jumble of circumstances bumping up against each other. Each moment has a sense of rightness, it has purpose and meaning. When we know that, we start to truly live.
Today, I feel so full of life, so different than I did when I was younger. But it is far from perfect, I have many uneasy times. It is good for me to remember to walk the way Jesus did, to continue to find the blessed life I was meant to live. It is good to remember that there is an order to life, and I need to value the things in my life. I need to trust, and get every bit of value out of every moment.