Live Like You’re Dying

Fifteen years ago, Tim McGraw released one of his blockbuster hits, “Live Like You Were Dying,” a song about a man facing a terminal disease. In the song, the singer/narrator asks the dying man what the news of his disease caused him to do.

He said
“I went skydiving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said, “Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying.”

Tim McGraw “Live Like You Were Dying”

Recently I heard the song again, because, again “BLOCKBUSTER HIT” and I thought how this describes how Christian should live. Except we are dead already.

Wait, dead?

Yeah, we should live like we’re dead…to self. Because we have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). As I listened to the song, it made me think of what being dead sometimes looks like: simple things becoming meaningful and meaningful things becoming simple.

“And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad.”

Every day things become infused with deeper meaning and richness. Think of communion — the bread and wine/grape juice has a symbol of the deepest spiritual reality, that we are fed spiritually on the body and blood of Christ. Resting is a reminder of the grace of God in giving us rest from toil and His perfect gift of salvation: rest for our souls. Sex between husband and wife is more than just a physical act, but now has spiritual dimensions as it is an example of Christ’s intimate love of His bride, the Church. These simple, daily acts of eating, working, and resting take on profound significance in light of God’s redemptive work.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:19-24 (ESV)

When we live in the Spirit and are dead to self, the meaningful things become, for a lack of a better term, simple. Like the song says, we love deeper, speak sweeter, forgive easier. These are acts that the world does not always understand or even appreciate. Yet they are — or should be — second nature to us. Heavy concepts like sacrifice and suffering become daily habits that we accept with gratefulness to God.

No, the Christian life is not full of a bed of roses, and dying to self is a daily (hourly) battle. But we have the victory in Christ and the promise of His strength.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

We are alive and yet dead. Meaningful things become simple, simple things become meaningful. That is the paradox and the beauty of Christianity.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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