Die to Live

One of my favourite television programs of all time is the Band of Brothers. My favourite episode in that series concerns a Lieutenant Spiers. In that episode, Easy Company had emerged from a torrid time in a forest in Bastogne under freezing conditions. They were asked to take over the little town of Foy from the Germans. Easy Company was under the charge of an ineffectual commander and couldn’t break through the German lines until Spiers stepped up and took over. Spiers stepped up, took command and lead from the front. He blazed through and ran from one vantage point to another, methodically and courageously picking out snipers and artilleries. His brave feats lead Easy Company to complete victory and overcame the enemy.

Later as the men took a well earned rest, someone asked Spiers how he did it. What was his classic reply? He said:

The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.

To function as a soldier, one has to accept that he is already dead. The sooner that acceptance occurs, the better you’ll be able to function.

Dying to self is essential to effective function. He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose. These were the words of Jim Elliot the missionary who gave up his life in Ecuador.

The Bible has always taught giving up of self. The elevation of self is the greatest lie the devil perpetuated to continue to suppress man and deny him the fullness of life that self sacrifice was meant to bring. Leave the 99 sheep behind to seek that one lost sheep and forgetting the nine coins in order to find the one which is lost. Giving up what we have – which we can’t keep – to find the greater gift given by God – which we can’t lose.

The devil seeks to stoke our egos, our self. Genesis 3:4 has the serpent saying to Eve

4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Elevating man to the status of God seems on the surface, to be fulfilling man’s “purpose” but in fact is the death knell that sees man separated from God. To truly live, the self is to first die.

To move forward, one is asked to first lay down himself to the extent of death. Jesus has shown us what this means. In John 12:23

23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

We are asked to remember His death for our sake and to seek to forget ourselves and focus on Him. Let us embrace the Copernicus revolution and accept we are not at the centre of the universe – God is. Let us see things from the perspective of God’s Kingdom and His purpose for His Kingdom. For only then can we be one as His family, as He commanded us to be.


Back At Work – Hello 2011

Back to work after 10 days off… the usual struggle to crank it all up again beckons. Officially it was only a 3-day leave but the result was a stretch of 10 days off work. It was bliss.

We went up to the Grampians for a couple of days, and brought the little black Jedi along. He was good and obviously enjoyed the adventure. At an arboretum in Dunkeld where we stayed, I walked him without a lead and he looked as happy as any dog could be. He’d wander off a few hundred meters away and every time he gets out of sight, I’d only have to call his name and he’d come running back to me. There was a lake surrounded by gorgeous trees against the backdrop of the mountains which make up the Grampians, which we could see from the veranda of our B&B. Walking Scruffy through the arboretum was such a soothing and de-stressing experience.

We got back in time to join a little party at Matt Ng’s home in Templestowe. It was a poolside BBQ and the 40degree heat was a big challenge but kiddo joined the other youngsters in the pool which must have been great. The rest of us were just eating and sipping cool drinks to cool off. Uncle Seng and Auntie Anne were back from Malaysia so it was good catching up with them. We got back a little after midnight.

New Year’s day was spent cleaning up to be ready for a dinner in our home. The Hii’s (Gerry and Jesslyn and little Sheanne) came over early to cook beef noodles (Singapore styled) and while waiting for the beef stock to slowly stew, we played cards and really enjoyed the day. Choy, Sharon and their kids came for dinner and we had a good time just talking and enjoying each other’s company.

On Sunday (2nd Jan) a few of us went out to lunch after church. There were 5 families and again, we had a really good time just talking. When we got back I mowed and tidied up the lawns. We trekked to PhillipIsland yesterday for a cruise to Seal Rocks to pay homage to the large Aussie Fur Seals. It was a beautiful day and we really enjoyed the afternoon. A dinner in a local Thai restaurant rounded off a really good break.