Summary: We are most dead when we're alive and most alive when we're dead
Most Dead When You're Alive. Most Alive When You're Dead
Ephesians Chapter 2
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
In Buddhist tradition there is one character, Varsavarti, who is the ruler of the Heaven of Sensual Delight. Varsavarti is a demon. That version of "heaven" is merely a form of bait for unwary souls to draw them to hell. The place where you have constant fulfillment of your sensual desires for eternity is considered a place of torment-of eternal boredom.
We live in a world that still embraces the elusive phantom of happiness through pleasure. And no one can tell you you are wrong if you are pursuing your own happiness. Please indulge me while I complain. I'm tired of hearing Christians talk about living their dreams and pursuing their passions. Most of our fondest dreams or fantasies become nightmares if we actually live them out, and the pursuit of passion is often merely paving the road to perdition.
Paul states the apparent contradiction: "You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live . . . All of us also lived among them at one time . . . But . . . God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead" (that's one of those 'but's' I encourage you to look for). When we live for our own pleasure, we die. When we die to our own pleasure and live for God's pleasure, that's when we really live. As CS Lewis said, "Aim at heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you will get neither". If we want to live a truly pleasurable life, we have to learn what it means to die to ourselves and live for Christ. We will return to this theme again later on, especially in Colossians, so I'll leave the discussion here for now.
Prayer for Today
-the Prayer of Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, Joy
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console
to but understood as to understand
to be loved as to love
for it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Teach me today to die to myself, my selfishness, even my goals and dreams, so that I can live in You, and see Your dream for me fulfilled in my life.