A LIFE OF BATTLING THE WALKING DEAD
Imagine you were deathly ill. Imagine in spite of calling for the elders to anoint you, and after many heartfelt prayers, and after all the doctors could do for you, and after suffering for days or weeks or maybe even longer you succumb to the illness and die.
Then, imagine hearing the voice of the Messiah, the Teacher, who spent many evenings at your home preaching and teaching and sharing food, yelling, “Lazarus, come out!” Only to you, it sounds a bit muffled since you are wrapped up tight in burial garments.
Then, imagine you follow the Lord’s instructions, moving as best you can still bound up in burial clothes, to the mouth of your tomb and there is the Lord, and the disciples and, your sisters, and many of the people from your town.
Suddenly, you realize that you can feel the ground you stand on smell the herbs and oils that were used on your body as part of the burial preparation. You realize that the world looks much the same as when you left it (however, long ago that was, you are unsure). And your sisters haven’t aged since the last time you saw them. It slowly dawns on you that this is not THE resurrection, as you expected. It is only YOUR resurrection, back to mortal life.
You have been resurrected from death back to human life, but surely to a life that could never be the same as it was before your death and resurrection. [Read about it in John 11] You have died, and yet you are alive again – living and walking on the earth you thought you had left behind.
Would you be surprised for me to say that this experience that Lazarus – brother of Mary and Martha – went through is not unique to Christians? No, most of us do not experience mortal death and resurrection to mortal life. However, every believer who accepts Jesus as Savior and is baptized goes through death and resurrection.
Romans 6 covers our deaths and burial and subsequent resurrection to new life at baptism in great detail. Romans 6:3-8 says, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Life must have looked a lot different to Lazarus, post death. Having tasted just a little of what it is that the Father has in store for us, how could he ever settle back into “business as usual” with his mortal life?
So, it must be with us – post death by baptism – we must walk in newness of life. [Rom. 6:4] Life should seem different. We should seem different to those around us. We must be different from the person who went down into the water of baptism.
However, sometimes the old self, the sinful natures we sought to leave behind at baptism, raises up in thoughts or behaviors or words we thought we had put behind in that watery grave. When that happens, the “old self” is really just the walking dead fighting back against the real, living, new person we become.
The old self does not want to stay dead. It is hard to kill – just like the zombies in the TV show The Walking Dead or the movie World War Z or any other of the plethora of zombie movies and TV shows. We must work hard to root out and destroy the old dead man within us, with all the enthusiasm and effort required of those TV and movie survivors of zombie infestations.
Read Romans 7:13-25 for Paul’s recounting of his struggles to kill his inner walking dead man. Verse 17: As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it but sin that dwells in me. Or, I might say, it is that dead man, seeking to walk as if he were alive again. Isn’t that want a zombie does?
In versus 24-25 we see the solution to it all: O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Baptism is a chance at new life – real life – fully alive life. Everything that was bad and rotting about our human natures and lives is symbolically left behind, washed away and buried in that watery grave.
We have to fight to keep the dead self, well, dead, but we have help through Jesus Christ, our Lord. We look forward to the ultimate resurrection – not just out of a watery grave of baptism into a new life on this earth – but out of this human body and mortal life altogether into new, spiritual bodies where no walking dead will be able to stalk us anymore.
War on, sisters, in this life doing battle with the walking dead within us. Fight until the day that death itself is slain forever. 1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” [See also 1 Corin. 15:55-58] We are going to win the zombie war.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.