Death to a Christian is non-threatening, and it really is illusive. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us. Because of Him, we are free from death. It is not spiritual death that I am referring to, but physical death as a means of bondage. For me, I now see bondage as death instead of the reverse, death as bondage … it is something that we cannot escape in our lifetime, but something, as a Christian, is no longer bondage in any form.
I have for many years smoked, and I always told myself that I would quit when I felt convicted to do so. No matter how it made me feel … no matter what people said about it … it was not my time. I would lay them down when I felt it was time. I always said, “Lord, when you convict me of this, I will quit”. Well, I can’t honestly say that He has never convicted me before today, because I truly feel that I would be lying. The Holy Spirit, I am sure, has spoken to me about this over and over. I have felt so condemned at times because of this nasty habit, but then, I would say, “If I am feeling condemned, then it is not of the Spirit”. With justification I would continue to smoke. I always could reason in my mind why I could smoke and serve God at the same time. After all, I serve a compassionate God … I serve a loving God … I serve a forgiving God! I am not going to hell simply because I smoke. I ENJOY smoking. I WANT to smoke, or I did until today. You can serve God where you are, so please, remember that I am not saying today is your day to do any differently. I am saying this is MY DAY!!!
Dieting simply is not for me. Why should I struggle to lose weight just to gain it again? I would start over and over and over … lose the weight for a short period of time and then return to the same habits. If I felt like an ice cream, then I would eat it. If I felt like a fried piece of chicken, then by gosh, I had one. I watched what I ate with some sense of rightness, but overall, I simply ate what I wanted. It was easier than trying to eat what was good for me. What is the big deal? Why should this or that hurt me if I am hurting no one else (or so I would tell myself)? I am growing ‘glory to glory’, so what does it matter?
My heart has belonged to God for 14+ years now. I know He has loved me through it all. I know that He would continue to love me through it all. So, you ask what is different? The difference is those three little words … life or death! It is a choice that we make every day, and sadly, without even knowing it, more times than not we choose death. Not even realizing it, we continue more on the road to death than we do on the road to life.
This is not about condemnation or making people feel bad about what they are doing. If you are doing any of the above, then your day has not arrived yet. You will know when God is truly speaking to you. As I have said, today was my day. I want life. I want life for me. I want life for me so I can enjoy my children longer. I want life for me so I can serve as a vessel for Christ on earth longer. I want life for me so I can enjoy my grandchildren longer. I want life for me because I have finally realized that Christ wants life for me and He wants it for me over and above. I am tired of settling, and today, I choose life over death.
When we eat, we choose life or death. When we get up in the morning, we choose life or death. When we are at work, we choose life or death. We have that decision to make in every aspect of our lives. How could I have missed this for so long? How could I have thought that choosing life or death was simply a terminology people used when describing a path of serving Christ? It is about EVERYTHING!!! Today I finally figured that out. It is about choosing that sugar-free jello over that candy. It is about choosing healthy lungs over that cigarette. It is about choosing to exercise over feeling tired and worn out. It is about choosing that fried chicken over the broiled. It is about choosing my family instead of working many, many hours and on weekends. It is about EVERYTHING we do in life. Simply put, it is the road that we choose to follow.
I am not fooling myself in thinking that choosing life over death is an easy choice. The fact is that the right choices are never easy ones. If they were, then the world would not be in the shape that it is. My Sunday school teacher said this morning that sin is GOOD! We enjoy it so much. I had LOADS of fun when I was sinning. It simply feels GOOD. However, sin is just one “o” from God … “Good or God”. Now let’s not confuse good over right. Let’s not confuse good over joyful. We serve Christ and it is joyful … it is right … it is a peace that truly surpasses understanding. It is GOOD without the sin.
I am not fooling myself in thinking that now that I have chosen the path of life over death that I will be sing-song happy from this moment on. Quite the contrary! I am choosing a path that will be filled with pit holes and struggles. I have chosen the death path for the first 54+ years of my life, and to think that just because I choose something that is full of life now will make it all smooth sailing is what the devil would want me to think. The difference is that now I truly desire LIFE over death. I do not want to keep eating that junk that will weaken my body and take me out of here much quicker than I would like. It is about making that right decision from here on out. I am going to hang postcards all over my home … on my bathroom mirror so I can see them when I first wake … on my refrigerator so I can be reminded before I even open the door … on the steering wheel of my car so I can see it as I travel down the road … on my computer at work so I can see it as I work. If not, then I will forget I choose this path. My mind is not programmed to think life over death. It is programmed to simply do what feels good, and what I have been doing is not what I want to continue to do. I have to be reminded every second of every day or I will continue on that road to death. I am human. I want what I want.
You say to yourself, “If that road to life is so difficult and takes so many good things from you, then why travel it? After all, you can serve God and have the best of both worlds.” Now, please, do not confuse what I am saying with sin. Living in sin is not living for God. I am saying to live a better life for yourself so that you can have all that God intends for you. I want LIFE and I want everything that goes with it. I want the joy of looking nice. I want the strength and stamina that comes from healthy choices in eating. I want to FEEL good … I want to be GOOD from the inside out! Simply put, I want it all and I am willing to travel the rough roads I will endure in getting on the right road of life! It is scary right now. The thought of quitting smoking, eating healthy, getting the rest I need, and incorporating exercise in my life is not an easy feat. I won’t accomplish this all in 24 hours. I have desired it all my life, but I “chose” not to have it. Now is my day, and I am praying that soon it will be your day. Until then, continue to walk the path you are on. If you have given your heart to God, then God will continue to love you where you are at. He is willing to meet you on your road and don’t allow anyone to tell you any differently. I have walked the past 14+ years with Christ thinking I was doing it all right, and He loved me all the way. However, this morning He made me realize that I could have more. I could truly have LIFE over DEATH in everything I strive to do.
Pray for me because I will need it. But once living for ‘life and not death’ becomes a habit and a routine as my past trails have been, then watch out! I will be one powerful vessel for God to use. He has used me in my current stage of life many, many times, and He will use you just as you are. However, for me, today was a turn in the road that I have been travelling, and I am both excited and fearful, but finally I am ready to make that turn.