Jonathan's Perspective  

Apr 9

'THE GOOD LIFE REQUIRES DEATH'

It may sound oxymoronic to say, but life requires death. Think about it. We have all experienced that reality. Every time we want to enter into a better state of life or adopt a good habit, something has to die. Every advance requires death.

When I was 24, I asked Mary Kay to marry me. Happily, for me, she said yes! When we stood before each other making our vows something was put to death. She and I were no longer free agents. We had to sacrifice the freedom and enjoyment of dating other people. We gave up making career and other significant decisions independently to suit ourselves. Mary Kay and I put to death an old way of life and individual freedom in order to gain a better state. Every new stage of life requires death.

The same is true for habits. We cannot adopt a good habit unless we kill an inferior one. On a mundane level, becoming healthier requires death. I encountered this when I decided to lose weight and become more fit. The only way to achieve my goal was to put to death old and cherished habits: eating more of the food I liked, enjoying copious amounts of Trader Joe’s chocolate, eating ice cream late in the evening, staying up late, sleeping late, and inordinately relaxing. Those habits had to go so I could adopt new ones: preparing and enjoying better food, gaining energy and muscle mass, using my limited time more productively. A healthier me required death.

Everything in life requires sacrifice. We can either hold on to sin and inferior ways or we can hold on to Christ and walk in his way. We cannot have both. Life with Christ requires the death of life without Christ. Spiritual renewal will never happen when we hold onto sin. We cannot walk in the way that leads to life when we are walking on the road that leads to destruction. C. S. Lewis wrote, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back the soonest is the most progressive.” 

The Christian season of Lent reflects on the basic truth that our salvation in this life and in the next requires a two-fold death. The death of Jesus and the death of our old selves. Only then can we experience a beautiful life in Christ and the joyful way of virtue. What new state of being or habit is God calling you to embrace? What will have to die in order to experience that? Let’s be clear, the good life will always require death. It is not inevitable. It is a choice. When we acknowledge and embrace that, we will begin to experience the only Way worth traveling, the only Truth worth knowing, and the only Life worth living. 

Inviting you further into the Kingdom,

Jonathan

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