“…and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.” (Mk. 9:26b)
We have all heard or read about people who, for one reason or another, were assumed to be dead, but who miraculously regained consciousness. Some of these hair-raising stories include the fact that the individual was actually in the morgue, waiting for a mortician who, presumably, would have seen to it that death was indeed a reality. Evidently, one can be so deep in a coma that there are, as they say, “no visible signs of life.” This is not unlike some professing Christians you and I know, right? In some cases, the verdict of whether or not there is true Spiritual viability is almost too close to call.
Two truths come to mind as I develop the analogy here. First, just because one gives little indication of Spiritual life does not mean he or she does not possess it. For instance, in the case of Lot, who lived and prospered in the infamous Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19), there is precious little indication that he had any association with God, other than the fact that he was related to Abraham, the friend of God. For this reason, when we read in 2 Peter 2: 7-8 that he was a “righteous man” with a “righteous soul,” we are tempted to ask, “Are we talking about the same man here?” One clue may be that we are told he was “vexed” by what was going on around him (not enough to leave, however), and this torment seems to be the only hint that he truly was redeemed. Charles Spurgeon said, “God never allows His children to sin successfully.” It will always irk them one way or another. The fact remains, however, that a child of God can be Spiritually comatose, so to speak…but not indefinitely. And this is one time where, if there is life, resuscitation will work every time.
This brings me to the second truth. What person in his or her right mind wants to spend their Christian lives having to be constantly resuscitated? Wouldn’t it be better to be a “resuscitator” than a “rescuscitee?” Some Christians are so entangled in the thinking of our ungodly culture that anytime you discuss the plain, basic teachings of the eternal Word of God, it’s like having to reintroduce them to a forgotten language. Oh, you can do it, but why should you have to? Bible study, prayer, Christian fellowship, sharing our faith, and, most of all, communion with God, should all be like breathing in and out. And no one should ever have to look at us and say, “Are they breathing?”
None of this is to say that we all look alive in the same way. Even in the best of Christians, our Spiritual respiration is not always the same. Sometimes our hearts seem to truly pant after God, as the Psalmist’s did (Psl. 42:1); while at other times, we may feel like Daniel, when he said, “…there remaineth no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me” (Dan.10:17).
But you can mark it down; there will always be Spiritual breath–the Breath of God– in a true child of God, even when there are little or no other visible signs of life.