I, Steve Kiefer, was absolutely dead – a corpse – from birth - ‘dead on arrival’. I was separated from a holy God – and I absolutely deserved it.
There was a time when I chased after the empty promises and hollow illusions of the world. I gladly and unashamedly followed the enemy of my soul without resistance – the same fallen angel who is hunting, trapping, capturing , destroying and using countless people all around me. I used to really love the world and all it deceptively offered; proving that love, by satisfying my endless appetites - fueled by my fallen nature. What was wrong with me? My core was broken! The deep-down me hated God and His ways; therefore, I exalted my will and desires above His and thought only of myself, giving the devil free-reign over my mind, making every dimension of my thinking putrid and toxic. Simply put, I was my own god.
But, the true God who sees everything, saw what a mess I really was. He knew that I offered Him nothing of intrinsic worth. All of the raw material that was me was hopelessly and helplessly unusable. He was my enemy, and I was His. But something happened - His love. His love for an archenemy, in His fathomless mercy, knowing I was dead and rotting, resuscitated me through Jesus! His grace alone lifted me up from my casket and stood me on my feet for the very first time. But it didn’t stop there! After raising me from the realm of spiritual death, He gave me a seat at His family table – right next to Jesus – all because of Jesus – so that throughout all eternity He could overwhelm me lavishly and continuously with unmerited kindness thanks all to my seatmate! I didn’t deserve even one breath of this new life. I still don’t. I offered Him nothing. I still offer Him nothing but fear, worry and inconsistence. Praise my name! Even my needy quivering hand of faith was all His doing. I couldn’t even receive His grace without Him providing me the hand of faith to accept it! It was all Him and none of me. It still is.
He made me alive through grace – period. I didn’t earn it. Dead people offer nothing to anybody! Instead, it was all a gift – all Him. I can take no credit for it. If I could contribute to any of it, knowing me, I’d draw attention to my measly part. That’s why He did it all! All I can really do is thank Him for it. To take even a sliver of merit is to vandalize His gift and discredit the power of His cross.
So, now that I am alive, my plate is wonderfully and scandalously full. Now that His resurrection life has overpowered me, I now have the rich, humble, responsibility and privilege of being part of His glorious resuscitation in others. He raised me up not just to be raised up! No. He raised me up on purpose and for a purpose – His praise in my life, family, community and generation. Admittedly, all of this is beautifully new to me – but He knew about it from timelessness past. He knew that my life would now serve a grander purpose and mission – not the exaltation of the dead god that was me – but instead the exaltation of the life-giver Himself – Jesus Christ.