I'm so stuck on this "death before life" thing. It is just burning in me, lately! It seems everywhere I look, and every thoughtful conversation I have, points me to death and resurrection! I still don't think I've really said it clearly (maybe I'm still working it out) so I'm going to have another crack at it.
I think it's the absolute centre of this "following Jesus" thing. (Duh! I hear all the Christians say... Jesus died for our sins etc. etc. .... ) Well... yes. But I'm not talking theology or doctrine here - I'm talking about stepping into the real - & when Jesus died and rose again, He was showing us the way there.
Christians have symbols like baptism (you get pushed under the water, to symbolise death - & when you come up again it symbolises a new life), use terms like "born again" which is supposed to imply the start of a completely new life. The language of death and resurrection permeates all the Christian traditions I know. But somehow it often seems to get watered down to mean more like "a
new way of life" (as in, "I keep the rules now"), or even just a "new bunch of friends"! I don't know about you - but to me, that's hardly something worth dying for!
Jesus used stories about people selling everything to gain priceless treasure. He told people to give up all they had and follow Him. And, of course, the one about the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and "dies" before it can grow into a beautiful, fruitful wheat plant - SO much more than it was before!
No wonder Jesus talked so much in parables and pictures - it's so hard to explain this stuff! You really need to SEE it!! So what did Jesus do? He SHOWED it! He let the Romans torture and kill him - & then He rose again. & He told us that if we want real "God life" that we have to follow Him. Before you can step into the amazing life that God has for you - you have to let YOUR life go. If you want God-breathed amazing, beautiful, powerful, love-filled reality - you have to let go of the self-reality. Sound like a death? It's the doorway to life!!
So how do you do this? I think it involves trust in a God who is real, and will come through for you. It actually isn't even something you "do" . More like something you STOP doing. It's letting go of your own efforts to make things good or pursue happiness, and abandoning yourself to the path God sets for you. Trust. Listen. Follow. Watch what HE does - & be amazed!!