DayBreaks for 01/07/13 – The Sobering Reality
Phil. 1:21 – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
As human beings, we have an incredible ability to irrationally view life incorrectly in the light of eternity. We weave a fantasy of invincibility, what Ernest Becker called ‘the denial of death.’
“Of all the books written and all the sermons preached about death, none has come from firsthand experience. Yes, not one of us has intellectual doubts about death’s invincibility. The mute testimony of our ancestors tells us that to deny that death will one day come is literally fantastic. Nevertheless, among believers profound consciousness of death is a rarity. For some, the veil between present reality and eternity is the shroud of silence – death is simply the last disease waiting to be conquered by medicine. For others, their view is represented by a physician in a respected medical journal: ‘In my opinion death is an insult; the stupidest, ugliest thing that can ever happen to a human being’ and therefore, a cruel, unwanted interruption that is best ignored. For many the separation from loved ones is too painful to consider. Perhaps for most of us, the frenetic pace of life and the immediate claims of the present moment leave not time, except for fleeting reflection at funerals, to contemplate seriously where we came from and where we are going. Saint Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism, offers the sober advice to ‘keep your own death before your eyes each day.’ It is not a counsel to morbidity but a challenge to faith and fortitude.” – Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child
How can we keep our own death before our eyes daily and not have it become an exercise in morbidity? Simple. It’s the secret behind the understanding of the passage from Philippians 1:21 (above). Simply put, Paul is telling us that life means Christ, and that death is not a spectre to be avoided, but rather a prize to be won. We, as Christians, are not faced with a choice between life and death, but as Brennan Manning wrote, but a choice “…between life and life.” This is, indeed, the promise from the very lips of Christ: (John 14:19b) “Because I live, you also will live.”
Contemplate your death not as the end, but as the birth to a new, vibrant reality – not something to be feared, but something to be won, a prize for which you have longed that will be yours in His time.
Copyright 2003 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: As mortal creatures we are appalled by death, Lord. We know it is an enemy, but what power You have to turn even the final enemy into an instrument of beauty! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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