May 14, 2018 • Life for Leaders
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
In the last decade or so, zombies have gone from the periphery to the center of pop culture. I’m not referring to the animated corpses of Haitian folklore, but rather to the fictional beings originally popularized in George Romero’s horror film, The Night of the Living Dead. Now, you can find zombies in movies, comic books, video games, television, and music. They are the “undead,” beings that were once living human beings but are now in a trance-like state as they stalk their prey. They are driven by desires they cannot control and that will never be fulfilled.
As you recall, the Apostle Paul begins Ephesians 2 by saying that we were dead, trapped by sin, under the power of Satan and this fallen world, with desires that drove us to live far less than the human lives God had intended for us. If Paul were writing Ephesians today, he might have begun this chapter by saying, “You were zombies.” Our existence was not unlike that of zombies in pop culture: dead and undead, alive but far less than fully alive.
Yet the terrible news of our zombie-like state is a preface to the wonderful news of God’s salvation in Christ. Because God is rich in mercy and full of love, he “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (2:5). God made us alive, truly alive, fully alive. In a phrase, the good news could be paraphrased as “You are zombies no more!”
This is news we need to hear. And it is news desperately needed in our culture today. I suspect that the popularity of zombies reveals that many of us feel the deadness of our lives. Though we appear to be alive, we feel driven and despairing. We are yearning for real life, the life God intended for us from the beginning, the life that can be found because God “made us alive… even when we were dead.”
Yet God doesn’t impose new life upon us. Rather, he saves us, heals us, sets us free, and invites us to live who we are in Christ. We are empowered to respond to God’s invitation: Don’t be a zombie anymore!
Something to Think About:
In your life, do you ever feel like a zombie?
Do you ever feel as if you’re just going through the motions?
How do you respond to the good news that God has made you fully alive in Christ?
How do you experience this reality in your daily life?
Something to Do:
As you go through the day, pay attention to what tempts you to return to the “zombie” life outside of Christ. Then, with help from the Holy Spirit, choose the life of God rather than the “death” of living apart from God.
Gracious God, thank you for the fact that you have made me alive in Christ. Thank you for not abandoning me in my state of living death. Thank you that I am a “zombie no more.”
Help me, dear Lord, not only to believe the good news that you have made me alive but also to experience it each day. Help me to choose the life you have for me. May I be fully alive in you today! Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Fighting The Zombies That Try To Eat Your Brains
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.