January 29, 2014

Everything That Kills Me...Makes Me Feel Alive?

I've had to do a lot of driving over the past few weeks. And as I cruised from appointment to appointment and training to training, I listened to a lot of "Top 40"-style radio play. [I know - GASP - secular fodder!] But you know how they do...the top songs cycle through at least once per hour, earning many tunes the coveted title of the "most overplayed" songs of the year.

The song I inevitably kept hearing as I hopped in and out of my little '98 Civic was OneRepublic's "Counting Stars." Now, the lyrics that stood out to me time and time again were the ones pictured above: "everything that kills me makes me feel alive."

[Friends, what follows is by no means an interpretation of the song or a discussion of the meaning OneRepublic is trying to get across. I simply want to reflect on this one line and the response it triggered in me.]

Upon hearing "everything that kills me makes me feel alive," my mind immediately flashed to the reality of sin. Sin is that which kills us, but it also lures us into believing we're truly living when we engage in it. Can I get an "amen"?

Hebrews 11:25 mentions the pleasures of sin lasting only for a season. The ESV labels these pleasures "fleeting." But they are pleasures nonetheless, aren't they?

Sin is what our human bodies crave. Outside of a relationship with God, we seek the pleasures of this world - that which fills the desires of our own hearts, our own minds, and our own physical beings. But once the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to Scripture and convicts us of our sin, and we respond to that via surrender - we are saved. We are forgiven, and the blood of Christ washes away our sin. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV), "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

Isn't this glorious? We are new creations.


Friend, it's like this: let's say that I was born a '79 Toyota Tercel. Now, stick with me here. In 1992, I was born again as a believer. Some may go on with the car analogy and say that I was then a new model - a '92 Toyota Tercel. I received an updated body frame and a new paint job...not to mention the internal adjustments! But is that what 2 Corinthians 5:17 says? Am I simply a newer model of the old? No! I am an entirely new creation. For example, a fighter jet - no less!

You see, at salvation, God does not merely rebirth us as a newer version of the old. He redesigns us as something totally foreign. Our makeup is different. Our fuel is different. Our trajectory is different. Our purpose is different. We "must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11, ESV). And Paul gives us a challenge that goes with that consideration: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:12-14, ESV).


Whew! So everything that kills me ought to make me feel dead now, right? And He who saved me (God, through Christ) should be the One who makes me feel alive, huh?


True...however, we know that this is not always the case. For Paul says that we will struggle and oft-times "have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For [we] do not do the good [we] want, but the evil [we] do not want is what [we] keep on doing" (Romans 7:18-19, ESV). Even though we will continue to have warring desires (righteous vs. sinful), we must constantly engage in battle - waging war against the pleasures of sin and choosing instead to delight in the pleasures of God.


Lord, may we long for the true, abundant life that only You can bring. And may we war against trading it in for the fleeting feeling of "life" that sin offers.

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