That’s a scary thought.
First of all, it requires you to answer who you are. How do you define yourself–and what do you allow to define you? We don’t want to admit…okay hold on a sec. I’m gonna change the viewpoint.
First of all, it requires me to answer who I am. What do I allow to define me? What do I allow to infiltrate my life and penetrate my actions? What do I allow to influence my character, my behavior, my interactions with others? If my life could be minutely summarized, how would it read? Paul’s statement is admirable, and I know I still have a ways to go.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
This verse always throws me to Romans 1:16…
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
…upon which I crumple into a heap of self-evaluation. It’s nauseating to recount all the times I’ve kept my big mouth shut when I actually should have opened it, all the times I prayed for an opportunity and then smothered it. (“Oh Lord just give me an opportunity! I have so much I could tell them!” *five minutes later* “Oh Lord…not now…uh, I really have laundry I need to get home to…ummm so You like yogurt, right?!” Sound familiar? Sans the yogurt perhaps.) Is it not totally humbling to realize that Jesus was unashamed to die for us, even while knowing how often we would be ashamed to live for Him?
So who am I? I am claimed by Christ. I am rescued from being subject to the eternal consequences of my sinful nature–I still have to combat the battles encountered by living in a sinful world, but I do not fight them alone. I am valued so much by a King who paid the highest price to claim me…who did not leave me cast along a scarred road, only to be cheaply pilfered by the leader of the damned. I am given hope and a future that is planned in my best interest, and orchestrated to bring glory to God.
All this and I darn well better not be ashamed of my God. Nor should I shirk from living unashamedly.