To write about life I turned to my trusted friend, Wikepedia, for an exquisite definition.
“Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes(i.e., living organisms) from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.”
When I read this definition two things come to mind; as a young person I rarely think of death, and secondly when do I appear inanimate? The first thought is rather obvious though sometimes sadly not true, because we assume we have many years ahead. We need to remember that God has given us a certain number of years on this Earth, and we should cherish every one of them. The second, about being inanimate, is something that needs to considered as well.
A while ago I ate some really bad dumpling, and ended up attached to the couch in my apartment with food sickness for days. I watched reruns and movies for hours upon hours. To the outside world I probably appeared quite inanimate. Is that how God feels about my relationship with him at times? Do I coast through my devotion time or prayer time and never really get connected with him?
I often ride the public transportation here in Macau. It gives me a lot of time to think. I used to consider it a good time to start conversations with other people. Over time I’ve realized that other people find it a good time to think. They don’t like to be bothered. They sleep, or stare out the window, or stare at you, or just develop a glazed expression on their faces like they are inanimate. Sometimes I struggle with this part of the culture because Americans tend to strike up conversations with people when they are bored, and the Chinese do not hold this tendency. Over time I’ve found this a good time to pray. Sometimes God gives us time to be silent, so we can remember that He is there. He speaks to us when we finally shut our mouths and listen.
As Christians, 1 Timothy 4:12 asks us to “set an example…in life”. How do I do that? Do I disengage with the outside world and prefer to be in our own? Do I avoid going early to church because I know I’ll have to have a conversation with someone and sometimes I just prefer to sneak in during the first song and sit quietly in the back? Do I take time to connect with the Creator of this beautiful world we live in?
God has not called us to an inanimate life. He has called us to exactly the opposite. When I see the Chinese people that I work with learn about Jesus, whom they have never heard of before, their faces light up with joy and excitement. When they are given a Bible for the very first time and talk and talk and talk about how they will read it cover to cover, they are far from from being inanimate. Sometimes I envy the new Christian because they are so alive and excited about God. Our walk of faith, and walk of life, grows over time and goes through many ups and downs. The good thing is no matter if we are sick on the couch or staring out the window of a bus, God is always with us. He is always ready to talk. We can live our lives in a constant conversation with Him and walk daily in His grace.
The life of Christ was far from inanimate. He lived a life of service and love as He taught and healed. Even His death was animate, as He bore the sins of the world and paid for the sins of our inanimate living. Through the Holy Spirit, He enables us to start a new life every day as we live in His forgiveness and love. That is the definition of the Christian life.