Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reconciling Abundant Life with Daily Death

Wrap me tight in my prison of death.
Trade my mundane for the blessed.
Tear me down, bring me down, oh so down
that I can't see.
But my ears can hear and they know my wind is blowing
and my morbid flight is at hand.


Christ tells me that he has come so that I might have life, and that my life will be more abundant than a normal way of living. That's exciting.  I can get behind that idea. But then I turn and the church's mentor Paul is there saying he dies daily.  He's telling me that for God to increase I must lessen. How do we reconcile abundant life with daily death?  It's into this dichotomous faith that a Christian walks.

We can't take only one side of the argument. My childhood was largely shaped by the Holiness movement in small East Tennessee churches, where the rejection of self was the ultimate sign of being Holy, and where abundant life was more for the By and By than the Here and Now. But neither can you embrace the promise of abundant life without accepting the loss and struggle that must be intimately intertwined.

We exist on Earth as imperfect productions of a perfectly individual mold. We come to God through faith and belief, and we are saved. Then we begin conversion, from sinner to saint, and we go not from our imperfect self into God, but rather from our imperfect to our perfect self that is made in the image of God. We do die daily. We die to the World, to Sin, to vain ambitions, to lack of self-control, to depression, and to all the layers of unrighteousness that are covering our perfection. We die so that God can rebuild us. A broken sword can't be mended. It must be melted down and reforged. We are each broken, and the method to reform us is a process full of death and life.

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