I remember the days of 8-bit games when having only three lives in a game was the norm. There were no cloud syncs and no chance for any do-overs. We had to play a game from start to finish in one sitting. Nowadays we can restart our campaign from the exact point where we left-off last night and can resume playing literally from any part of the world or even from any device.
The advancements in technology have given us more freedom to take our time and truly appreciate the developer’s hard work and not worry about completing the game. The death and resurrection of Christ has done the same for us where we don’t have to be on our toes and worry about completing this life without any mistakes but can take our time and truly enjoy what the Developer of our lives has planned for us.
However the massive technological leaps in gaming hardware has left players with shorter attention spans and underappreciation for a developers efforts, as they rush through the titles, just to check it off their bucket list or simply turn their focus on the newer games in the market.
I feel a similar callous attitude in our spiritual lives where we do not sit back and truly appreciate what Jesus did for us. Our new found freedom is taken lightly and even misused to spend time in more ‘interesting’ pursuits in our endeavours to ‘enjoy life to the fullest’. Gone are the days when gamers would think that having just one extra life could help them complete their adventure. Likewise have we forgotten our lives before God hit the reset button and gave us this new life?
The Israelites had to offer countless sacrifices of repentance where every animal they had to kill reminded them of the cost of their grave sin. Remember our past lives before Jesus came into our lives and gave us our freedom, the constant guilt and shame we faced while being tormented by the evil one and not knowing even the purpose of our existence.
When we remember the Old Testament days of the Bible and even our past lives, we can surely see a difference of how far Jesus has brought us. But are we manipulating our new found freedom for our benefit, rather than to know the will of God?
In the Bible we see more than half a dozen people who were given a 1-UP (an extra life) during their lives on this earth. The group comprises of sons of widows, young men and women, and even an old lady all with seemingly ordinary lives till the day God hit the reset button on their lives.
Jairus’ Daughter and Tabitha Dorcas
The daughter of the synagogue leader (Mark 5:42) and Tabitha Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42) were two women who were at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to their ages but the way in which Jesus and Peter brought them back from the dead is almost identical. Both encountered unbelievers and fake mourners at the house and both proceeded to clear the room of friends and relatives before they asked God to raise their loved one. Two ladies with different backgrounds, who were at different stages of their lives and perhaps completely different purposes for their lives but God chose to give both of them a New Life on this earth.
The Women who got their sons back
Three women are mentioned in the Bible who lost their sons, two of which were widows. Widows were the most weakest section of the Jewish society and the loss of son would ensure that they will remain destitute. The Shunammite’s son (2Kings 4:17-37), the widow from Zarephath (1Kings 17:7-24) and the widow from Nun (Luke 7:13-15) had their sons given back to them by Elijah, Elisha and Jesus respectively. The Shunammite woman was from the higher strata of the society whereas the other two would be dependent on the temple for their livelihood, as in the absence of any male in their lives they would not be able to inherit anything. There are other widows in the Bible but why were only these three given this grace by God. Jesus does address one of these women when addressing His hostile home-crowd as to why they will never be able to see miracles of such magnitudes in their town.
I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.Luke 4:25-26
Lazarus and Eutychus
Lazarus (John 11:1-44) was one of the staunch supporters and a close friend of Jesus. Similarly, Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12) was one of the eager followers of Paul and had come to hear him speak. Lazarus was raised up from death in more unprecedented circumstances as he had been dead for four days before Jesus came calling him at his graveside. We don’t know much about these two men apart for the stand they took for Jesus Movement, same stand taken by Stephen and so many others in the Bible.
There doesn’t seem to be any reason for why these people deserved to get a second chance. But remember that in the same way, each one of us has been given a new spiritual life something which is much more important. While our physical bodies last only till our time on this earth, our spirit however lives forever.
Just like in the case of the ones God raised from the dead, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why God chose to give us another chance. It’s unfortunate that of the people God raised from the dead, we do not get to read about their post-resurrection lives.
A New Lease on Life
Whenever people recover from a life threatening disease, they have an opportunity to be successful and happy after having experienced a series of difficulties and even near death experiences in their lives. They say that they have a new lease on life as they start seeing the world, their families and their surrounding in a completely new perspective.
Their lives before and after their recovery is on completely different tangents. They go on singing praises of the doctors and hospital staff who helped them through or are ever grateful to their neighbours and friends who helped them through the tough period. That is the assurance they have in their new bonds that were made during this period and the cent percent trust they now place on their medical team.
We have heard people describe this feeling of having a new lease on life and we too get swept up with emotions and can actually understand what the person is talking about. We have also heard countless sermons about A New Life, but do we understand what a New Life should feel like?
Assurance of A New Life
When we received our new spiritual lives did we find a joy unceasing similar to a person who found a new lease for life but greater. Did we start looking at the people around us in a new perspective? If there is no difference between our old lives and our new ones, then maybe it’s because we still haven’t received our new lives.
If God has given us a new life, there is no way we can lead the same life as our old one that we were leading on our own. The Spirit will convict us with regards to good and evil and we will choose to do God’s will rather than give way to our evil desires. If we feel that there is no difference between our two lives, then either we have not received God’s grace or we are lying and implying that the cross has made no difference in our lives as we were righteous all along.
Due to the advancements we have made in our relationship with Christ through His Spirit, let us not become callous and blow away our chance of enjoying God’s gift of a New Life.