A Beautiful Death: Dead people rest

by Kyle
published April 1, 2017


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I must confess my own hypocrisy.

I’ve been exploring the idea of living the Christian life by personally associating with the death and resurrection of Jesus. “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Another foundational passage for this idea is Romans 6:5-14, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his … Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him … The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:5,8 and 10-11).

Because of this theme in the Bible, my own motto has become, “I am a servant, and I am already dead.” Thinking of myself as already dead helps me to live the Christian life much better. As I consider my emotions about a particular person or circumstance, I ask myself, “Would a dead man be bothered by this?” The answer, of course, is no. So, I can be at peace and trust God with the circumstance.

I strive to genuinely live out my motto, but in one area, I have utterly failed.

I just came down from a literal mountain-top experience. I went back to Guadalupe Peak this week. It’s the highest point in Texas, and it’s the mountain where God called me to pastoral ministry. I felt the presence of Jesus more strongly than I ever have in my life. It was so vivid, I cannot imagine experiencing his presence again more authentically until I get to heaven. He kept his promise that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26) in the most literal way I could imagine it.

Here’s one thing he taught me: Dead people rest.

Lately, I have been working so hard. I’ve been doing so much. A 12-, 13- or 14-hour day was normal for me, and it was starting to take its toll. My family was feeling neglected and my mind was falling apart. So, through a close friend, he called me away to be alone with him back at the place he called me to my present ministry in the first place. Among other things, he reminded me to rest.

So Thursday, I left my house just before 8 a.m., and I won’t get back until about 8 p.m. Another 12-hour day. But today I’m resting. What makes the difference?

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

I’m resting from my works. Dead people don’t have works. If I really live as though I had been crucified with Christ, and I really live this life in the body by faith in Jesus, then what goes undone won’t bother me. If I am really dead to sin, but alive to God like Jesus is, then I won’t even attempt to do more than what God wants, and I won’t try to go faster than God wants. My family won’t feel neglected, and my mind won’t fall apart.

Jesus lived by getting the plan from the Father for the day, living that out, and resting at the end of the day no matter how long that day was.

My prayer is that you will join me in that kind of rest. Dead people don’t do their own works. As living sacrifices, though, we do God’s works, and we rest. Because Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What do you think?

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