To Live and Not Just Be Alive

Written by Kevin P. Gilmore
From the Director

from-the-director-05-21_article.jpgI was driving to the office recently, listening to one of my favorite radio stations as they played a new release by the popular Christian group Mercy Me. The title was “Say I Won’t.” I later learned the song is intended to express the feelings of someone who finds new meaning and purpose for life after experiencing a significant challenge.

The online video shows images of individuals holding handmade signs with the phrase “Say I Won’t…” followed by a short description of the situation they plan to overcome. Gary Miracle (his real name) who was the inspiration for the song, is shown with a sign that reads: “Say I Won’t … Walk Again!” Gary lost the lower portions of all four limbs suddenly to sepsis in January 2020.

The day I heard the song, roads were slick because of an overnight snow, so I was paying more attention to driving than to the lyrics. That’s when these words jumped out at me: “I’m gonna know what it means to live and not just be alive.” I could not get away from them and asked myself, do I really know what it means to live, or am I just alive, going through the motions of a busy life?

What keeps us from a life worth living?

When neighbors, friends, family members, and those who do not know Christ as their Savior see or think of me, do they picture a person who demonstrates what it means to really live? Am I a positive example of my faith, or do I allow the pressures of the urgent to dampen the light of Christ I should be reflecting to others?

Television and social media echo a message that to really live means focusing on ourselves and doing the things that make us feel good. The message resonates with many. But when we come to the end of life, will we have made a difference for God? Will our life have drawn others closer to Him?

It’s not possible to gauge what is worthy when we use subjective, selfish, ever-changing standards, such as our world does. We can make this type of determination only by focusing on the principles of the Word of God and the example Christ set for us while He lived on this earth.

What keeps us from a life worth living? Is it fear of failure or a lack of faith? What kind of things would we do if we knew we could not fail, or put another way, if we simply have faith in God’s ability to provide what we need? There are those in our communities who need to see the light of Christ. Are we reflecting it as persons who live for something other than ourselves?

Following the resurrection and ascension of Christ, God sent His Holy Spirit to abide in the hearts of believers to empower and let us know that with God we are capable of selfless living—enabled “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20 NIV).

Perhaps, like me, you need to forget about your New Year’s resolutions and instead simply focus on what it means to really live and not just be alive—to let God’s Holy Spirit guide and direct our “living” in a new and fresh way each day.

Kevin P. Gilmore is director of Pensions and Benefits USA for the Church of the Nazarene.