One of the most popular shows on television the last few years running has been AMC's zombie-cult drama, The Walking Dead, currently in its fifth season. It's essentially about a small group of people who are trying to survive in a world overrun by "zombies, cannibals and homicidal maniacs"—or so I'm told by Entertainment Weekly. I've never seen a single episode; I'm not a fan of the undead hordes.
But when you think about it, there's another way to be a dead man walking. And I'm a huge—huge!—fan of that.
The Bible actually talks about this in a couple of different places. Romans 6:11 says, "Even so, consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." And in Galatians 2:20, Paul writes that "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Have you ever stopped to consider what being dead can do for you?
When we're really dead to our sin, it no longer has a hold on us. We don't fear other people's sin, either, because we know it's not going to somehow become our own.
When we're dead to our flesh—our own selfish ambitions and desires—we don't fear other people's opinions. People don't like us because of our faith? OK. They threaten our jobs because of what we hold to be true? That's not an easy place to be, but we have faith that God will provide. We don't have to get offended, because it isn't about us. Technically, we're not even here anymore, so none of this is personal. When we're really dead to ourselves, all those people are reacting to is the Jesus they see in us.
I had the honor of meeting someone recently who really personifies that principle in some unique ways. Bazzel Baz has, for the majority of his time on the planet, laid his life on the line in the service of others. First with the U.S. Marine Corps, later with the Central Intelligence Agency, and for the last 24 years, running military black ops to rescue American children from kidnappers overseas. He and the group he founded, the Association for the Recovery of Children (ARC) have a 100 percent success rate: Every living child they've set out to rescue so far has been safely returned to his or her custodial parents.
What makes them so effective? While there's definitely a lot of training and some elite skills involved, a big part of it comes down to a decision Baz made a long time ago about Who he was going to follow. Since then, every mission has been a matter of putting his own life in God's hands, with the Esther-like attitude of "if I perish, I perish."
You'll learn a lot more about him and ARC in the story entitled The Rescuers. As you read it, I'd like you to ask yourself a question: Is there something holding me back from being more effectively used by God in this culture for His Kingdom? What could He accomplish with and through me if I put it all on the line and died—truly died—to myself once and for all? Because the reality is that we've all been called to a mission far greater than ourselves.
It's kind of amazing to see what God can do with one dead man walking. Consider what He could do with an entire horde.
"Every man dies. But not every man truly lives."
—Mel Gibson as William Wallace, Braveheart (1995)
Editor, Focus on the Family Citizen Magazine