The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. – Revelation 2:11b (NIV)
While leading a tour at one of the ancient ruins in Rome, Italy, a tour guide was asked why there was nothing left at the site except bricks. In response the tour guide said fire had destroyed the structures that once stood at the site centuries ago. But the bricks remained because the bricks were made in the fire, and that which is made in the fire cannot be destroyed by the fire.
Christian discipleship is death by fire.
The embrace of new life only happens as we extinguish that which kept breath in the old life. Love’s requirement is that we lay to rest the short-sighted demands of egotism. Victory in Christ always involves the demise of some degree of selfishness.
We cannot get to the resurrection without going through a crucifixion. But dying daily for the cause of Christ gives us power over every other form of demise. Freedom to live is freedom from the fear of death.
Martin Luther King, Jr., told us that a person who has not discovered something that they will die for is not fit to live. Death places too many restrictions on life and liberty.
The abundant life of Christ Jesus is the life that keeps coming back in the heat of imminent mortal threat, the life that keeps serving in the fiery furnace of lethal opposition, the life that keeps walking through the valley of the shadows of death.
The old gospel song says, “I done died one time… Won’t have to die no more.”
Not even death can stop a life inspired by that kind of faith.
Lord, let me die only once. Then let me live forever in you. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Decatur, Georgia.