Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proof of Life

In a recent post,Tom Goodman asked the following question.
How would you convince someone you're alive?  How long would it take?

It took a Romanian man a year of expensive litigation, and as I read his story it made me think about our life in Christ.

When Gheroghe Stirbu tried to renew his identity card, Romanian officials told him that he was dead.

Chalk another one up to government bureaucracy:  Stirbu had been confused with another man.  Although Stirbu pointed out the error, the government refused to acknowledge their mistake until Stirbu won a 12-month legal claim to be declared alive.

Judges renewed his status as alive -- and then charged him for the court costs!  "I will of course appeal the imposition of the costs," Mr. Stirbu said, "but I am already beginning to wonder whether or not I would have been better off staying dead."

When I baptize someone I recite a paraphrase of Romans 6:4--"You are buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in a new way of life."  From the moment you committed to Christ, Scripture tells us that "God made you alive with Christ" (Colossians 2:13) and so "count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11).

The problem is, sometimes we find ourselves in a position like Mr. Stirbu:  Our "aliveness" is up for question.  Maybe certain habits that should have been left behind still occupy us.  Or sour attitudes still flow like poison through our veins.  Or maybe we can't seem to find enthusiasm for connecting with other believers.  Or, given the choice between reading God's word or a night of idle web surfing, the mouse wins.  Or maybe we can't remember the last time we shared the gospel with someone.

What proof could you offer that you are alive in Christ?

Don't get me wrong:  No amount of behavior modification or attitude adjustment will set you right with God.  It's the other way around:  Entering into God's grace results in a new way of life.  If we have little evidence that we're alive in Christ, the first thing we have to do is reflect on God's amazing grace to us.  Every change and every commitment we make after that is just our "thank you" to God.

Find a tangible way to express that gratitude to God today and show someone you're alive in him!

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