No Resuscitation!

twin lambs

During my college years, I heard a preacher say, “There’s a problem with living sacrifices—they keep crawling off the altar.”  Yep.


Have you ever offered all of yourself to God and then took it back when it became troublesome or inconvenient? Crawled right off that altar, didn’t you?

Paul knew all about this struggle: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.“ (Romans 12:1)

How blessed we are that God understands our weaknesses! Even with the best of intentions, we often fail to be the people we want to be. We fall short of obeying the righteous commands of the living God.

Dying to ourselves can be exceedingly uncomfortable and laying down our souls a royal pain.

What do we do when that discomfort happens? We try for resuscitation! We think that’ll make us feel better. At the very least, it should postpone the pain of dying to self.

ID-100207316Yeah, how’s that been working for you?

Not so good, I’ll bet. At least it hasn’t worked for me.

I’ve been involved in plenty of attempts at physical resuscitation, both as an EMT and as a PA. We failed a lot more often than we succeeded. We struggled with death of our reputation and death of self-esteem, as well as the physical death of a patient entrusted to our care. It was hard. But we had to deal with our failure and move on.

Trying to resuscitate appropriately dying parts of our souls just brings the stench more strongly to the surface. We realize we’ve sinned. Occasionally we repent; more often we try to cover it up. We don’t want to face that death.

It seems we rarely deal with our failure and move on to better things. But at least two people know all about it: us and God.

butterfliesGod is in the resurrection business, not resuscitation. He brings our spirits to life at the moment of salvation, and we continually renew our minds and souls with His help. Between His grace-filled efforts and our own persistent pursuit of holiness, we find ourselves living in the courts of heaven with our Father and our Brother Jesus. That’s what is supposed to be.

Dead sacrifices don’t crawl off the altar. When we surrender, the dross is burned off by Holy Spirit and the resulting smoke rises as a sweet incense to God.

Resuscitation is not an option.


this is part 3 of a series on dying to self

Part 1| Choose Life by Choosing to Die

Part 2| Save Your Life by Losing It

Part 3| No Resuscitation!

Part 4| A Living Sacrifice Requires Inner Honesty


illustrations courtesy of