“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
There is a cliché saying that we’ve all heard in movies or pop songs, and it is the exhortation to live like we’re dying. Now, there is some truth to this. There is a very real sense in which the time we have here is very short (a mere vapor, the Psalmist said) and we need to be mindful not to waste any of it. However, I think there is a deeper, more freeing truth to be found in the pages of Scripture.
I can be a very insecure person. I’ve grown up being a people-pleaser. For the most part, my goal has been to navigate life in such a way as to stay on people’s good side. Additionally, I hate being misunderstood. I will go to ridiculous, sometimes detrimental, lengths to make sure people understand me. Just ask my family. Why do I feel the need to have the approval of others? Why do I feel it is absolutely necessary that people understand my side of the story?
Sometimes we seem to think that our relationship with God happens in a little vacuum that only concerns us. However, it is in the context of real relationships with those around us that God reveals ways that we are still clinging to attitudes and deeds that belong to the old nature. Why do I feel insecure? Is it not because I think I have something to lose? If I am easily offended and defensive, I’m realizing it is because I am trying to stick up for myself instead of abandoning myself to Him. Doesn’t our Heavenly Father know how to take care of those who are His own? Yet I feel I need to take care of myself, as if I could do a better job!
You see, Christ didn’t come to reform our fleshly nature. He came so we could lay it aside completely and it could be crucified (Colossians 3:8). He didn’t come to improve our hearts. He came to give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). If we’ve died with Christ, we have nothing left to lose. We’ve already lost everything.
Isn’t that glorious!
We could spend our lives trying to hang on to everything we can; yet in the end we will lose it all. Yet, when we let go of our lives, we can take hold of His life. What a trade Jesus offers us! Our life for His. What will perish for what will never be taken away from us. Not too long ago, there was one day that seemed to sum up the spectrum of what I’ve been talking about. I had been cultivating a lot of hopes and expectations around a certain situation coming together the way I wished it to. In a moment, the bottom fell out and I was left with all my guts hanging out (Calm down. They weren’t actually hanging out, but it felt like it). I wrote in my journal that afternoon,
“I’ve got nowhere to go. Would You find me where I’m at tonight? The bottom is falling out and I’ve got no other remedy, no saving grace if not for You. I’m totally lost.”
Later that evening, I took a walk and the Lord gripped me as I looked into the vastness of the stars in the heavens. I was humbled in light of His incomprehensible wisdom. With tearful eyes I remembered the cross Christ bore in my place—the definition of surrender. After that, I wrote,
“Thank You Jesus! Thank You for the freedom that comes from surrender! You are the air in my lungs—I feel like I can breathe again! You are my Vision and Clarity—I feel like I can dream again! You are the wind in my sails—I feel like I can move again! Lord, take me wherever You want, just let me be with You Jesus! I won’t pretend this still doesn’t hurt, but I’m trusting You to bring Your healing over time. I love You because You first loved me! Thank You again and again!”
What happened between those two prayers? Maybe something dying. And resurrection life springing up in its place. His life. Sure, it’s true that we should live like we’re dying, but that doesn’t compare to living like we’re dead! We’ve already lost everything so we can gain Christ! What an exchange!
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11
If you have been to any of our events in the past few years, you’ve most likely bumped in to Zach. You can find him either leading worship, teaching a small group, or working as a Boot Camp counselor. We love working with Zach because of his heart for students! Fueled by a vision to see students using their God-given gifts when he graduated high school he ventured out into starting a youth worship team. The rag tag group slowly learned to tune their own instruments and formed the band As Isaac.