Luke 7:12-15  Jesus “…came near the gate of the city…a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother…she was a widow.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said…, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still.  He (Jesus) said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak…”

The Holy Spirit reminded me of this scripture today whilst I was chatting with a friend with whom I am purposefully sharing “Jesus and my broke down past”.  The Holy Spirit continued further, “Sometimes you guys have to be dead to yourselves before God can begin a work in your life.”

Now, I sense a bunch of virtual hand-raising as pastors and holy overachievers everywhere are inwardly shouting “WHAT ABOUT Mark 8:35?”.  Give me a hot minute.  I’ll get there.

Let’s not get lost in the minutiae of the dead man’s back story.   Who was he?  How did he die?  It bears no weight to my point.  The analogy has more to do with our guy’s state of being when he encountered Jesus.  He was dead.  Lying in a coffin.  Cold.  Clammy.  Toasty McGhosty.  Not surprisingly, he wasn’t saying a whole lot.  Yet, considering his current situation, he responded immediately to the call of Jesus on his life.

Mind blown.  Mic Drop.  You’re welcome.

If BuzzFeed had existed back then, the headline might have read,

“Holy Man Desecrates Perfectly Good Funeral”

They would have quoted Jesus as saying, “The dead ones are easier to work with. They are a lot less argumentative and respond a whole lot quicker.”  I find it funny that the first thing the dude did when he came back to life was start talking.  Even death can’t shut some people up.

Now we can talk about Mark 8:35.  To anyone unfamiliar with scripture, it might sound like a religious riddle.  “…if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it.”  At some point in the bible God says that His ways are not our ways and our ways are not His.  God often sees the whole picture.   We get distracted by the pretty colors.  We were meant for more than life on earth.  God created us to worship Him and be in relationship with Him.  Anything else we could focus on in this life, no matter how enticing, is simply a waste of a God life.

Some of you are hung up on the quote, “dead to yourselves”.  We aren’t talking literal death.  “Dead to yourselves”.  It’s a metaphor for laying down your earthly agenda and taking up God’s divine agenda.  Our dead guy couldn’t put up a fight or argue with Jesus like us live people can.  His only ability was to respond affirmatively when Jesus spoke.

God is calling each of us to die to self, not because He wants us dead, but because He wants to give us Eternal life.  Mic dr…oh wait I already used that.

(Dramatic pause to let that sink in.  Please reread the last sentence.  I’ll wait.)

Dying to our old sinful selves, allows us to surrender to God and experience His wisdom for our lives.  When I refuse to die to self, my life is all about me.  When I die to myself, my life then becomes all about Jesus.  God can be trusted with our lives.  If He couldn’t be, Jesus would have walked by that coffin and said, “I’ll see you later suckah!”  But He didn’t.  He raised that dead guy to life, because the man had reached the end of himself and could therefore find the beginning of God.

I don’t know where your life is today my friend.  What I do know is this.  Jesus is poised and ready; waiting “outside the gate”, ready to speak life into your dead places.