Something must die, before something new can live.
A concept we all live by, but rarely understand or embrace.
We grudgingly accept this, when we have no other choice, forced by circumstances in the physical realm – but embracing this, both in the physical and spiritual parts of our life, will open up a new reality.
I am retrenched or euphemistically “released from employment” – only then do I find the courage to start that business I’ve always dreamed about. Ten years later I am grateful to the boss who fired me: “He did me the biggest service. He got me out of my comfort zone and now I am financially successful.”
Or maybe I am diagnosed with cancer – I go through a terrifying period of operations and treatment, but on the other side of this traumatic experience I have a deeper sense of what life is all about and a greater eagerness to make the most of it.
We know the testimonies and we listen in awe, but rarely do we understand.
When something “dies”, we find something more precious on the other side.
In essence this is the invitation of Christ with His own life and death: “I will die, so you may live.”
This has always been the essence of Easter, even before the time of Christ’s life on earth.
Go back to ancient times, when Israel was a nation under the oppression of an Egyptian Pharaoh – you find exactly this “death-life-freedom” combination.
According to His account of His interaction with human-kind, it was the last of the ten plagues He applied: the death of all the first born sons.
Israel does not suffer this plague – not if they slaughter a lamb and smear the blood of this lamb to the frame of their door.
And the consequence of all the death – freedom.
In the account of Israel in Egypt, it is interesting that God does not blankly spare all of Israel the effects of this last plague, but instead afford them the opportunity to kill something, so that their first born may live and they may enjoy freedom.
In my own life, many ages later, I see how this has remained His way of interacting with me. Not demanding or forceful – just affording me the opportunity to see that He is God and that He has chosen to share His life with me.
As I live in relation to Him, thanks to what happened at Easter time, let’s say 2008 years ago, I also see that I often have to slaughter something of this life, in order to receive something more precious.
Perhaps this is His way in more than just salvation.
I walk away from a ministry, to find a new and much more wonderful ministry in an unexpected place.
I walk away from friendships, to find deeper friendships in the hearts of precious new people.
I walk away from employment that has become unbearable, into a kinder working environment with greater opportunities.
This is even emotionally true.
I walk away from old habits to discover greater freedom in the new.
I “slaughter” prejudice and a judgemental eye, to unwrap an amazing freedom in relationship to my wife and children.
In the “Easter” sense, death is not such a bad thing.
It opens the door to life and freedom – but this you will only understand and embrace once you’ve understood and embraced His death that will bring you His life and freedom.
I hope that this will be something you will see – your life will be changed forever.