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Fully Alive

June 25th, 2012

“Only by dying could Jesus break . . the power of death.” Hebrews 2:14 NLT

Death releases the fuller expression and greater extension of the life of faith.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “fully alive.”

What could be a more challenging and sensitive subject than death? As a person and pastor, I have said farewell to too many family and friends to treat it casually. Yet death, as well as life, is unavoidable in the circle of life. I suggest that you cannot understand either without a proper, Biblical conviction about the other. We savor life and wish to enjoy its longest extent, uncomfortable to think about death. Paul described death as, “the last enemy to be destroyed.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 NIV. Sin imposed death upon all creation.

“Only by dying could Jesus break the power of the Devil who had the power of death. Only in this way, could He deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT. None of us want to be described, as, “slaves to the fear of dying,” but death does foster a cruel slavery, if one’s heart is not held firm in a personal faith in God. Fear is a miserable way to waste precious life, worried about a time and event in the future and failing to live fully and freely now.

We prize and honor those individuals whose nobility of sacrifice would give, or have given, their very lives for the good of family, church, community, and country. They are honored as martyrs and patriots. The Bible honors the faith of such courageous souls whose lives echo the Apostle Paul’s testimony, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy . .” Acts 20:24 NKJV. Some things are more precious than temporal life.

I have learned two things about life and death. You will not live with joyful abandon if you do not face the reality of death which is inevitable, and you are not prepared to die if you have not learned to live fearlessly. (1) Being rightly prepared to die allows you to be heroically alive. No one is eager for the end of life, but neither need you live in terror of that day. Heaven honors those who “did not love and cling to life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11 Amplified. Their faith was more precious than even the life they loved.

(2) Knowing how to be joyously alive is the surest preparation for facing death victoriously. Jesus gave the context for real life when He said, “If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [conform wholly to My example in living] . . whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it.” Luke 9:23-24 AMP. How you live has everything to do with how you die. Read Hebrews 6:17-20 NLT. Life is not found in living for yourself; life is found in giving it away for Christ and others, fully savoring each moment now.

For the Christ-follower, death releases the fuller expression and greater extension for the life of faith. That truth you can only grasp by faith. In comparison, life as you know and love it now is a mere shadow of the reality of eternal life that awaits those whose faith rests solidly upon Christ. As sure a promise as Jesus ever gave is this, “In My Father’s House . . I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there you may be also.” John 14:1-3 NKJV. Those who live with trust in God’s character and care receive a great promise. “The Lord says, ‘I will protect those who trust in My Name . . I will satisfy them with a long life.’” Psalm 91:14/16. How well you live may even impact how long you live, and will certainly determine where you spend eternity.

My prayer for you today is to live every moment for Jesus, fearless and fully alive.

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