Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Friday, January 26, 2007

Possum Christians--Lessons from Nature

Here’s a lesson from nature that fits too much of the church today.

Opossums are famous not for their rugged good looks,

but for the act of “playing dead”.

Much of this behavior is probably over exaggerated, but the point is that at times, the possum stops running to get away from an advancing threat—many animals have a chase instinct—if it runs away from you, chase it and eat it. The reason is that the possum employs this tactic is because it is not very fast, doesn’t see well, isn’t very smart, and does not possesses a fearsome array of weapons. Playing dead is often its best chance at survival.

It is really alive, but it acting dead as if it were dead. If you were to walk up to a possum in this situation, you may be more inclined to avoid it. I’ve heard numerous stories of people picking up what they thought was a dead animal only to have it jump, hiss and act all dangerous. This is a tactic the possum employs only on occasion compared with the majority of its time behaving as an alive creature, walking, eating, etc.

This is a contrast to most Christians in America today. Whereas “playing dead” is the unusual circumstance for the possum, “playing dead” is practically standard fare for most of us in the church—don’t think that I’m excluding myself. We are alive, but we act most of the time as if we’re dead—we have little joy, little passion, little desire to serve, little stomach to make Him known. For us, it is the times of vibrancy and being alive that are the more unusual.

We started in this world the living dead. We were able to walk, talk, eat, sleep and do all those things when spiritually we were dead in our sins. Then when we submitted ourselves to Christ and asked Him into our lives, we were made alive—physically and spiritually—to truly live an abundant life that was never possible before. Instead of living this way—we are alive spending most of our time pretending to be dead with only occasional periods of true living.

An opossum plays dead to avoid a threat—we tend to play dead to avoid being threatening, or to avoid responsibility, or to avoid truly being sold out to serve, love and worship God with all our heart, soul mind and strength. We play dead to avoid conflict, we play dead to avoid offending, we play dead to fit in b/c everyone else is playing dead.

What do you think God thinks about this situation? Don’t you think He knows? When my son is pretending to be asleep, it’s obvious for me as his loving father. He does it usually to play, we do it to hide, thinking our lives are threatened. I believe you and I are truly afraid to live as if we were Alive in Christ. We’re more comfortable playing dead.

I’m tired of playing dead! Aren’t you? Can you see it in your own life? What evidences do you have for playing dead? What would an alive Christian look like?

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life,


1 comment:

Kevin Bussey said...

Jesus promised us abundant life. Yeah, I don't like being dead.