I can’t help it. Have you seen the news lately? All kinds of people are doing it. An ex-pro-football player. Seemingly countless teenagers all over the country. Even a prominent pastor caught in an affair. Who knows who’s next?
I long for the day I will depart from this world. I really do. But I would never kill myself. At least not in a way that would make the 10 o’clock news. Let me explain.
There is physical death and there is spiritual death. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve discovered that spiritual death involves two things: sin against God and separation from God. It’s been axiomatic ever since. When we sin a noxious cloud of alienation sets in. Know the feeling?
The prophet Isaiah wrote:
Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
When a redeemed Christian sins, his or her union with Christ remains intact; we don’t lose our salvation. But our ability to experience our union falters. Sometimes God can feel so far away we wonder if we are spiritually alive or dead.
The Bible has a lot to say on this subject. Another example is James 1:14-16. I call this The Spiritual Suicide Passage.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived my beloved brothers.
My sinful desire is a gun pointed at my chest. My own finger is on the trigger. I know this all too well. James tells me not to be deceived. And yet in one way or another I sin every day in word, thought, deed, and/or motive. Boom.
This is nothing new. More than 350 years ago John Owen wrote: Be killing sin or it will be killing you. But how do I kill my sin before it kills me? I dedicated a whole chapter to answer that question in one of the books I co-authored with Jerry Bridges, The Bookends of the Christian Life. You can read or download it for free by clicking HERE. See pages 109-122. One of these four approaches almost always pulls me out of my joyless, suicidal tailspin.
But if these don’t help I take a more simple approach. I go to the acrostic I shared here a while ago, Jesus’ SCARS: I meditate on the Person of Jesus Christ and the panoramic vistas of His glory. From there I confess my Sin, take it to the Cross, where my heart warms with Adoration. I open the Scriptures and prayerfully Respond to what I hear there, and finally, I ask Him to Supply the needs I perceive in myself and others according to His own will.
And if that doesn’t work? Well, then I make it even simpler. I fall on the floor and beg for deliverance. I think of the verse in Isaiah that precedes the one I quoted above:
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear.
I plead as if I’m begging for my life. Because I am. And he can rescue me.
My spiritual suicide may not make the ten o’clock news. But in a very real way, it’s just as serious, daunting, haunting and deadly. Maybe more.