Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die

I know, I know. Not the cheeriest title to start the New Year with, huh?

But we here at the Westminster Blog wanted to start the new year thinking about fresh starts, about clearing the slate, about making things as they ought to be. For me, this means looking hard at resurrection. Resurrection is bringing life from death. Resurrection is about putting the old way of doing things behind us, and picking up a new reality. Resurrection is the central key to the Christian faith, if you ask me. It’s what makes us who we are as Christians. We are the ones who will be reborn. We are the ones who will have eternal life. And being as eternity has neither an ending or a beginning, it seems clear to me that resurrection is available to us now.

Tricky thing about resurrection is that you have to die first.

In our heart of hearts, we know this. Say for instance you have a new years resolution to loose weight. If you go about accomplishing that resolution by doing everything exactly the same way you did in 2016, you’re not going to make it. You won’t loose weight if you eat like you’ve always eaten. You won’t loose weight if there’s a you shaped dent in the couch. To get access to that new lifestyle, you have to kill off the old one. You have to let that part of you die. Perhaps that’s a dramatic way to word things, but it’s true.

So suppose that in 2017 you set a goal to become more like Christ. That’s a great goal, and something worthy of striving for. But the reality is that if you plan on being more like Christ, a piece of the old you is going to have to die. Paul was way into this when he was famously writing some of his letters. "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) There is no way to become something new without pieces of the old passing away.

This can be truly scary. We get comfortable with the way things are. Our eyes get focused on the goodness we have, rather than the greatness that could be. And ultimately, that’s the trick towards change. The goal would be to set our eyes on what resurrection life could look like. What would it mean to be closer to Christ in the New Year? Would that make us more generous? That would be a good thing. Would it make us more quick to forgive? That sounds like a better way of life. Would we see more clearly the plans God has laid out for our lives? That would clear things up. Suddenly, the pieces of us that we have to set aside might not be that difficult. Suddenly they don’t seem as valuable, when compared to a resurrection life.

So what does a resurrection life look like? How do we start to live as citizens of the kingdom here on earth, rather than waiting until our final breath has passed? These are good questions, ones we will turn to in part two next week!

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