“I was reading in the apostle John’s first letter earlier this morning,” Stan began, “and I saw a real parallel in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that is to be in me.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“Jesus lived, died, and lived again,” Stan replied. “I was struck by the notion that the same thing is supposed to be a part of me and my faith walk.”
“What do you mean?” I responded.
“Jesus was born into the world, and so was I,” Stan replied. “Jesus died, and I am to die to self. Jesus was then resurrected to a new life, and I am to have a new life that I live here while I want for the train, a new life that manifests the life of Christ.”
“Life, death, life,” I replied. “Nice, neat package.”
“It is,” Stan said, ‘but the whole matter of choice for me is at the center of it.”
“Choice,” I said. “How so?”
“In the first instance,” he replied, “I didn’t choose to be born into this life. That was not up to me. But once I was here, there came a time when I had to choose to die to that old life by accepting God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when it’s time.”
“Okay,” I responded, “you had a life over which you had no choice; and then death to self which was a choice. Then what?”
“It’s just like John wrote in his first letter.” Stan replied. “It’s a matter of continual choice. I have to continually choose the new life in Christ that is available. It’s there for me to receive, but it won’t be forced on me.”
Continuing, he added, “John put it in terms that I ‘might’ live through Christ, not that I ‘will.’ It’s a matter of choice.”
“It doesn’t just happen?” I asked.
“You’ve got that right, my friend,” Stan replied. “As much as I may want it to just happen, that’s not the way it works. I have to choose continually to be surrendered to all that God has for me in and through the indwelling Holy Spirit so that the new life God has for me will be manifested in every aspect of my being.”
“If I choose to have it happen, it will,” he concluded. “If I don’t, it won’t.”
Bible verses to consider:
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending Jesus into the world so that I can have life on both sides of eternity through His life, death, and resurrection. Thank you for not wanting me to stop with the assurance of spending eternity with you when it is time, but that you want me to live, truly live, the rest of the time I have on this side of eternity. Live it through your Son by surrendering all of me to be molded, shaped, and transformed in exact accordance with your will. I confess that too often I do not surrender to all you want. Please forgive me. Please help me in following your lead so that I truly live through Christ all of the life I have left to live. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life with Him in eternity when it’s time? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in living the life God has for you to live while you are waiting for the train? Are you growing before going the way you want? The way God wants? If you sense some changes may be appropriate in the way you are living this life, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?