Zombies are popular these days. Maybe you’ve noticed?
Movies, TV Shows, books…there’s even this: a 5K race in which participants are chased by people dressed as zombies.
On the treadmill the other day, I was laughing to myself as I thought how being chased by zombies would almost certainly improve one’s pace and ability to reach the finish line. I was thinking about the discipline it takes to get up at 4:45 and go work out, in the deep dark of not-yet-morning, in the stillness of a town that is only beginning to make the ascent back into wakefulness, and how that determination has spilled over into other areas of my life; a pleasant truth I did not expect.
And my Father, He spoke to me.
Yes, about zombies.
There is a zombie I flee every morning when I force myself out of my warm, soft bed and out into the cold of January. It’s scarier and more dangerous than any flesh-eating denizen Hollywood could manufacture.
It doesn’t live under my bed or lurk in the shadows of the night; it dwells within me.
This diseased body of death that decays a little more with each passing day…that flesh that clamors and demands and grows in strength as I coddle it and coo over it and give it every damn thing it desires until I become one of the walking dead.
When it is bloated and satiated with carnality, it shuffles through each day, unseeing and ungrateful for His manifold grace. It staggers past my children, dealing without doting. Looking without seeing. Satisfied with outward appearances. Unconcerned with the eternal.
My heart beats passionless and tired. Outrageous injustice sparks no reaction. Why bother? It’s a lost cause. Soapboxes require energy to climb, and I’ve got just enough to keep on shambling.
I have sat long and hopeless in the company of this zombie. I have listened to its lies, whispers carried upon musty grave-breath, of condemnation and futility. Worse, I have attributed some of those words to God Himself. I have given my brain over to it, and it has dined with relish upon it.
It’s terrifyingly easy, with enough practice.
But this is a new day for me. This can be a new day for you. No matter what. No matter how long you have sat in decay and ruination. No matter how loud the whispers have become. It’s a new day. A day to shake off the zombie. A day to kick him in his funky, crumbling teeth. A day to rise up.
Rise up and stop nursing the thing. Deny it something. It will be hard. It won’t let go easily. But eventually, it will. It will shrink. The clamor of the flesh will die down. His voice will start to penetrate. You will hear Him, cheering you on as you run, and rejoicing over you with singing.
And the zombie will lay in pieces behind you.
1 Cor. 9:24-27