I wonder if you can remember anything about being born? I think it’s fair to say that memory is not my greatest strength. I struggle to remember people’s names, what I’m supposed to be buying at the supermarket and various conversations that were probably quite important. Given this state of my mind, it will come as no surprise that I can’t remember anything about being born – though I’m quite sure that is the same for you!
On one hand, I think this is part of God’s good design for us. I imagine that the process of being born is a fairly traumatic experience that you’d rather not remember! However, the downside of not remembering, is that we can easily take for granted the wonderful privilege of being alive. It’s very hard to compare the simple experience of being physically alive to anything else - since that is all we have ever known.
One thing that can help us take delight in our own physical life is to reflect on the experience of others. Think back to a time you met a newborn baby. It could be the time one of your own children were born or the time you met a newborn from another family for the first time. When you stop and think about it, it’s really incredible to see the beginning of a new human life! As we take time to reflect on the new life of a baby, we can find a renewed sense of appreciation for our own physical existence.
The Christian life is sometimes described in the Bible as being ‘born again’ (e.g. see John 3). We see a similar logic at work in Ephesians 2:1-10 where the apostle Paul says you were previously dead in your sin, but now you are alive in Christ! As we reflect on what we were, we can find a renewed sense of appreciation of what we have now become in Christ – ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!’ (Eph 2:4-5)
While we can certainly benefit from reflecting on our own joy in being a Christian, this doesn’t need to start and stop with ourselves. We can seek to encourage others – and we can be encouraged by others – as we share our reflections on God’s amazing grace. As you finish up reading this article, why not think of someone you could deliberately ask after the service – ‘What do you think is the best thing about being made alive in Christ?’ You may find it less confronting for the other person if you offer to give your own answer first. Here’s one possible conversation starter you could use … ‘Hi there, I was wondering whether we could share some reflections on being made alive in Christ – would you like to go first or should I …?’