I love The Walking Dead. I started watching it halfway through season 2 after binge-watching the first season, and I instantly was hooked. People trying to survive in the zombie apocalypse is really, really cool to me.
Rob Shepherd, my good friend and pastor, invited me to watch the show with him and our friends over at his dad’s house, so of course I accepted the invite. How could I pass that up?
Last night, during the newest episode, Rick told a story about an interaction he had with his grandfather. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers. He said that his grandfather was in WWII, and young Rick had asked him whether or not he had killed any Nazis, to which his grandfather replied, “That’s grown up stuff that you don’t need to know.”
Then young Rick asked if any Nazis had tried to kill him; his grandfather’s countenance dropped, and he told young Rick about how anytime they were in Nazi territory, they were already dead. Rick tied that story into the group’s current situation, saying that they were “the walking dead,” which made me fanboy a little.
Rick’s grandfather told him what he said every morning when he woke up in Nazi territory: “Rest in peace. Now get up and go to war.“
At that moment, I said aloud, “Cue the sermon series from pastors across America.” Rob responded, “We already did a series on it last year.”
Rest in peace. Now get up and go to war.
In context of being in Nazi-run Germany as an American, that’s pretty heavy. Every morning, you didn’t know if you would wake up, or how long you would survive after you woke up. That’s what Rick’s grandfather hinted at.
But, in context of being a Christ follower, it’s both heavy AND comforting.
Rest in peace.
While we have been brought to life through Jesus’ sacrifice, we still have to make a daily decision to die: die to sin and our fleshly nature, and then to live to Christ and our spiritual nature. Paul writes to the church at Galatia, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
When God removes our blindness and we see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ as a result, we have to consciously choose to die to ourselves daily, surrendering our lives to Jesus constantly.
Now get up and go to war.
Once we have said and willed, “I die to myself and I live to Christ,” we aren’t walking into a field of daisies and tulips. We walk onto a battlefield. We’re in a constant fight for our holiness, effectiveness, purity, focus, and entire lives, and we’re fighting one common enemy: Satan.
We have to know who Satan is. Sun Tzu writes, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
We know who we are: we’re sinners saved by grace and dead people brought to life. So here’s who Satan is: he wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s smart. He’s a quick learner. He wants nothing more than to make us ineffective and useless for God’s kingdom.
And we’re fighting against him. Not our co-workers. Not our friends. Not even our mortal enemies on earth. We’re fighting Satan and Satan alone.
When we know our enemy AND we know ourselves, we can win without fear of ultimate loss.
But, we can’t defeat our enemy without knowing the God who gives us life, makes our armor, and supplies us with a weapon.
So let’s die today. Die to our sin and dirty selves to live to Christ. It’s hard. Believe me, I fail at it almost daily. My pride, my preferences, and my proclivity toward sin rear their ugly heads in my life consistently. But, when my pleasures are determined and fulfilled by God and God alone, my proneness to wander is erased.
Now, let’s fight hard. Fight the terrible enemy cloaked in darkness, and bring the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ to illuminate every shadow. This is hard too. Satan makes darkness really pretty. He makes it looks really attractive and shiny. But when we take the lure into darkness, we fall hard and get messed up.
What movie or TV show quote, religious or secular, has helped you in your everyday life? How have you applied it?