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Jim Langley: Don’t Let Yourself Become a Dead Man Walking

I’ve always been fascinated by the term “dead man walking” as it carries a resounding ring of truth in a short phrase. I’m certain I first heard the term not long after the book, Dead Man Walking, was published in 1993.

This nonfiction account by Sister Helen Prejean, based upon her work as a spiritual adviser to two convicted murderers on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., was apparently motivated by her effort to abolish the death penalty. The book itself examines the moral issues related to the death penalty.

Frankly, my interest is not to take a position on the death penalty. I’d rather talk about the term and what it means to me at his point in my life.

You see, I’ve come to realize that the condition of every man, woman, boy and girl is simply this: We are all born into this life as dead men walking. This is the dilemma of mankind, and it all started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were confronted by Satan to disobey God’s edict to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2 and 3). Since that day, man and woman have carried the original sin from generation to generation.

This is a biblical truth that is found throughout God’s Word from the Genesis account to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It took me 40 years on this earth to realize I was a “dead man walking” through life, and placing all the emphasis on tangible things and meaningless experiences.

Don’t get me wrong. At the time, I felt quite happy with life and simply went on day to day without giving any thought to the things God had planned for me.

Life was pretty much about me and everything pivoted around my existence. My goal was to make money, gain success and retire to a life of leisure.

These days I find myself observing those around me and wondering just how they might be viewing life. I’m not judging them, nor should anyone else, but I do have concern for them since I now know we can easily miss the mark that God wants for all His creation.

The Christian faith is based on God’s love for His creation and His willingness to send His only begotten Son to die for our sins. We can only be saved by His grace, which simply requires our willingness to accept the free gift He presents to all.

Unfortunately, many are so caught up in the temporal aspects of life that they hardly ever think about the consequences of living a self-centered life and exclude their Maker from the intricacies of their few years here on this earth.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our business life. It’s so natural to get immersed in our family matters. It’s so simple to get caught up in the ways of this world.

Satan wants to distract us. He wants to keep us from a personal relationship with our Father in Heaven.

Can you picture a man or woman walking down death row while the inmates yell their well-known chant? Well, I suggest that Satan and his demons are also chanting as many walk away from Christ to face an eternal life of darkness.

Please consider that we all started off in darkness, but Jesus is the Light Who can save us from the greatest tragedy in life. In John 14:6, upon being asked by Thomas how they could know the way, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

From this day forward, I trust you will put your faith in the Son of God and find life eternal!

Passages to Ponder

» Genesis 2:15-18

» Genesis 3:17-19

» Psalm 82:5-8

» John 10:25-30

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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