You Are Already Dead! So Live!
“The only way for a soldier to not be afraid of wars is to accept the fact that he is already dead.” — Lt. Col. Ronald C. Speirs, 101st Airborne, E Company as portrayed in “Band of Brothers.”
Speirs gave this remarkable advice to soldiers preparing for battle. He maintained that when a soldier stops thinking about surviving and instead assumes he will certainly die, he will stop worrying about surviving and/or avoiding conflict and get on with the business of leaving it all on the battlefield. Good advice indeed.
This is good advice for anyone really. It’s the truth! We will all die—period. No sense worrying about being comfortable, clinging to retirement plans or following false hopes of prolonging our lives in this world. So stop wasting your time worrying about death. It’s gonna happen. Stop spending your energy just surviving another day! Live with gusto! Leave it on the battlefield.
Might that be the message for those in Christ as well! St. Paul says something similar, “So, too, count yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11). This follows his amazing pronouncement of the effect of baptism, “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.” (Romans 6:3-4)
In Christ we are already dead to sin and the eternal consequences of sin. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,” writes Paul (Romans 8:1).
When summing up Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s views on living the Christian life, Eric Metaxas wrote, “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” (Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas, pg. 486)
Stop worrying about surviving as a Christian, avoiding wrong things, looking over your shoulder as if God is always ready to smack you down like an overbearing father. You have died to the demands of the law. Christ fulfilled them! You are forgiven and you are free to go forward! More than that, you will rise again from the dead! You have already died. Better than that, you are now living eternally!
You are free to boldly do good things for others without worrying, “Did I do it perfectly?” You are free to make mistakes. You are free to sin! Not because you pursue sin, but because you are going to. Bonhoeffer chose to participate in the assassination of Hitler. He contemplated whether it was right or wrong and made the best decision he could, putting it on God’s mercy. He decided to go forward.
You are free to take risks, to love others without getting anything back in return. You are free to do whatever vocation God has given you—and enjoy it! You are free to decide what college you attend, what job you apply for, what woman you want to marry.
Use the brain God gave you, seek His guidance through His Word and tally ho! Yes, you will fall, you will fail, you will stumble! You may regret a decision. Don’t dwell on it forever. He will pick you up and carry you forward! You have already died, you are already living.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” — Galatians 5:1