By Jothany Blackwood
One of the most powerful lessons that has been translated from the pulpit to the front porch is that we must die to the things of the flesh in order to live as Christians. And while that is not always an immediate transformation, it provides a model for the dichotomy of Christian living. And it is found in this conflicting idea; that in order to live a life of purpose, you must first die to the ways of the world.
And the challenge for many of us is not with the death of a thing, but it is in the mysterious act of living afterwards. We have all had some experience with death; whether from the intimacy of its embrace of loved ones or the recognition that it waited patiently for us like an unwelcome visitor with no place to go.
We recognize, however, that we have experienced the emotional death of relationships that promised so much and friendships that summoned our trust with ease. And after they ended, we were left with the pain of here's another one that didn't love us and we readjusted our masks with a heavy sigh.
Many of us have shouted, prayed, cried and danced our way through spiritual death as deliverance revealed that which had quietly offered promise underneath. It left us with a transparency that not only allowed us to see what we had survived, but even greater it offered the reflection of who God said we could be.
As I was dealing with my grandmother's death, my soul cried out from the uncertainty of how to live without her. And many of us are in that place of ambiguity that seeks clarity on how to live again without the familiar issues or behaviors that accompanied us until we met Christ.
Yet the resurrection indicates that after the death of certain behaviors and ideas, it is followed by living in fulfillment of one's purpose. If we can allow our hunger for the things of the world to die, then surely God will sustain us in every way. We can be confident in the knowledge that the essence of this dichotomy is not simply that we must die to live, but that all that we are belonged to God all along.
And since Jesus died and lived to tell about it, perhaps our story can also tell of how we rose again from our circumstances and challenges and lived a renewed life. Each day we get the chance through Christ to rewrite and create our own story and as my grandmother would often say, "You just make it a story to tell!"