Lifestyle Lifts | How My Death Was the Beginning of Life
So, I know that the moment you scrolled across this title your first thought was, “What?!” Yeah, I’ve been getting that expression a lot lately. I don’t get scared with the way people react to what comes out of my mouth anymore. I’ve actually learned to find humor in it. So many questions come to mind when you read a title like this, but bare
Before I get to the juicy stuff, I need to take you guys back to some time ago in order for you guys to really understand what I’m trying to say. This is a very personal part of my life, but Christ currently moves within me to get this out. So, in Him I write. For only in Him is truth produced. Phillippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Amen.
I was born into the church. Literally. No, I wasn’t born into the Church, the Body of Christ. I was born into the church, a building where people gather to share in God’s fullness. For 24 years of my life, I was raised in the Christian religion. By the age of 13, I had read the entire Holy Bible. I was crowned a Missionette in 5th grade and earned all the badges needed to prove to society that I was a true believer in Christ. I grew up with an awesome children’s ministry leader in Texas. I wasn’t authorized to release names, so they’ll all remain anonymous for now. I can still recite the songs he taught us by heart today. I sing them with my 8 yr. old sister now. His puppet shows will forever be in my heart. To be quite honest, everything I remember about my faith today is everything I learned as a child. So, I know it’s true when people speak of how important it is to raise your children in Christ from the start. They never forget.
My teenage years consisted of my hometown youth group, also in Texas. I’m not quite sure what it was called back in my day. It’s changed now. I’ve known my youth leaders since they were dating as boyfriend and girlfriend! I can’t even believe it. They were able to see me grow in and out of church. Like any other unstable teenager, I was constantly in and out of the church. Sometimes, I was on fire for Christ. Others, not so much. When I was living for Christ, I felt hopeful but still feared failing again. When I failed again, I didn’t feel worthy enough to continue seeking Christ. I knew He wasn’t a game, and thought to myself that I would wait until I was really serious about Christ to commit to following Him. I mean after all, what was the point of following Him one day and failing the next? I’d tell myself you’re either in or you’re out. You can’t be both. Since I wasn’t confident in myself to be all in, I just stayed out.
Of course, the Holy Spirit never let me go. I moved away from home wanting to experience more out of life at the age of 18. Throughout my college years, I went to church every Sunday and lived in the flesh Monday through Saturday. When I went to church I meant my praise and worship to Christ. I knew in my heart Jesus Christ was my Savior, and I never doubted God was who He says He is. However, my outlook on life and who God was had me completely skewed.
All my life, I believed you had to say this, be that, do this. This was my limited understanding of the Gospel. I believed everything was done through good works. I believed I needed to live for Christ in order find salvation and eternal life in heaven. I would think to myself, “Man, no one’s gonna make it then. Everyone’s all messed up. The only ones who are going to make it are the ones who get lucky and get caught living for Christ at the moment the rapture takes place.” Everything was on me. My salvation was on my shoulders. It was up to me to live life free of sin, to make the righteous choice every minute of every day, and to make sure I was aware every breathing second of my life that I was living and doing things for Christ. We do our best and when we fail we ask for forgiveness. That’s it. Live every day that way. There are people in the world who will take their last human living breath understanding the Gospel this way. That doesn’t mean they aren’t saved, and that’s an entirely new conversation I’ll leave for another time. Nonetheless, it’s a very limited understanding of true Gospel.
How then, Cheryl? You’re telling me we don’t need to work for our salvation? We don’t need to live for Christ? What left is there to do then, nothing? Yes! NOTHING. Nothing is exactly right. NOTHING is the answer. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 What is this telling us? Exactly what it’s saying. It’s not in French. It’s not in Chinese. Plain English: BE STILL. In other forms of English it’s also known as: do NOTHING. Now, before I get non-believers applauding me and believers condemning me, let me make explain.
You’re telling me we don’t need to work for salvation? No! What is there to work for? Jesus Christ has already paid the price and has already done the work for you! “But now He has reconciled you to Himself by His physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation–“ Colossians 1:22. The moment He gave His human body to be brutally sacrificed on a cross we were set free. The moment He died the worst way any human could possibly die, when He was perfectly innocent and blameless in God’s eyes, Satan was defeated. A sacrifice as pure and holy as this, and of this magnitude, is exactly what defeated darkness once and for all. Satan has already been defeated. So what are you working for?
So if we don’t need to live for Christ, that means we are free to do as we please right? Wrong. This is where I will make myself clear. This is where Truth is revealed. This is where you’re set free.
My spiritual death was the beginning of true Life. Notice how I said SPIRITUAL death. I don’t want people going around saying I’m telling you guys to do harm to yourselves physically. In order for all of this to make sense, you need to see yourself as a walking spirit, not a human. We must acknowledge that we are more than just flesh and bones. We each have a spirit inside of us, a supernatural presence. Through that spirit we are enabled to become One with Christ Jesus, our Savior. How beautiful is that?! He loves His creation so much, that not only will He suffer physical death for His creation, but He desires we be a part of Him, in Him, by Him, and through Him. There is NOTHING on this planet that can give you a sense of fulfillment the way His promise, this promise, does. Once we die our spiritual death, once we acknowledge that we need to cease to exist spiritually in order for Him to consume our bodies/vessels whole, we become One with Him in spirit. Everything else in life automatically falls into place. It’s no longer about what you can’t do in this world and what you shouldn’t do in this world. It’s about what Christ CAN do THROUGH you and what Christ WILL do THROUGH and IN you. Notice how there’s a fine line but a world of a difference in living FOR Christ and living IN Christ. We are incapable of living for Christ, but He is capable of all things in and through us and us in Him. You’re no longer hindered by the world, you embrace it with open arms because you have so much more to offer to it, and that’s Christ. You become like the all-inclusive Christ, who’s only desire is to enable you through Himself to become a part of Him. You’re no longer like the world who embraces evil or like the people in the buildings society calls “church” who embrace good. You become like Christ who embraces LIFE. This is true Gospel.
I can keep going for hours. Literally, ask my friends…HOURS. So, I’ll close and leave the rest for some other time. I encourage you guys to completely and totally consume yourselves in Christ. Don’t take the time you’ve been given for granted. It’s no time at all compared to the eternity that awaits us in the near future. Consume yourselves in Christ. Don’t consume yourselves in the buildings we call church. Don’t consume yourselves in religion. Get on your knees and truly get to know your Creator. The one who designed you into existence. The one who is nothing but purity, holiness, and righteousness, and in all that He is, He decided that you, you specifically, would be created into existence with a purpose. You were in His mind when He decided you were going to be a part of Him. There are no human words to describe the beauty in that…and there’s all that much more beauty in THAT. Forget what the world tells you. Forget what your church tells you. Accept your blessing. Believe He is real. Receive Him. If you still don’t know how to do that, tell Him to do it for you, and He will.
Writing this has been a blessing to me and I hope it has been for many of you as well.