I will have to admit that I have become a fan of the popular television series “The Walking Dead”. I was not a fan in the beginning, in fact it took a few years and a some encouragement from a few of my church buddies. To protect their identities we’ll call them Ken Bachelman, Batt Murgess and Cack Zrowell. I will also admit that I am not very proud of the fact that the language isn’t exactly G- rated either. Nevertheless, with all of the fascination with Zombies and the “Walking Dead”, it does provide us as Christians with an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson. Let me explain, what I am about to say may shock and confuse you. At first, you will be skeptic and an unbeliever, but mark my words you will be enlightened. “Ladies and gentleman; I, Matt Heupel am a zombie!” Now before you freak out, I do not eat brains (nor any other human body parts for that matter), I do not roam the streets at night with a noticeable limp, nor does my vocabulary ever include a scratchy “AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH! However, make no mistake about it; I am a zombie and I am not happy about it. Allow me the opportunity to tell you my story of how this came to be.
When I was about 12 years old on a Sunday afternoon in May, I had decided that I wanted to become a Christian. I met with the preacher that afternoon and he explained to me what was about to happen to my life. He read to me from the book of Romans chapter 6 around verse 3:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Romans 6:3-8
He explained to me that for me to become a Christian, I had to be reborn and being reborn meant that I had to die. At that time I know I did not completely understood the full concept of what he meant. I mean that is exactly what I didn’t want to do, die! I wanted to live forever with Jesus in Heaven. He further explained that I did not have to physically die, but die to myself, my spirit; so I could allow the Spirit of Jesus to live within me. No longer would I live my life for me, I would be giving my life for Him to live through me. So that is exactly what I did, at about 6.55 pm on that Sunday evening; I died. I buried my life within the blood of Jesus so that I could allow His Spirit to live within me when I rose out of that watery grave.
Easy Right? Well, not so much! You see it wasn’t long after that night that I started having my first symptoms of “zombiism” (no that is not a real word. I just made it up, just go with it:). There were times that I could have sworn that the old Matt Heupel was still alive within me. I know I put him to death that night, but it seems that my old self began to creep back into my life. Slowly and slowly I kept noticing more and more of my old self becoming more of a dominant fixture within my life. I truly was a Dead Man Walking! I hated it! It made me feel so guilty, so rotten, so wretched! Well I wish I could say that was the end, but the symptoms continued. Sometimes they were hard to control (or maybe I mean hide it), others it wasn’t so hard. It seems that they were the strongest when I was either alone, tired or with a group of people I should not have been around. Today I am 41 years old, and it has been almost 30 years since I put that old Matt in that grave and he is still causing me problems.
I can’t remember how long ago it was, but I found someone who struggled with the same symptoms that I was struggling with. He wrote down how he felt in a letter to me and this is what it said.
“Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?”
That was exactly the way I had felt! The old man that I buried so long ago has risen and was taking control of my life! My friend and I were something neither of us wanted to be, ZOMBIES!
I also read a lot more of people that suffered from this dreaded illness from some place called Sardis.
““I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone dead. “Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate.”
Every where I looked I found more and more people who were struggling with the same symptoms. All of them with very similar stories of putting to death their old self to allow Christ to live through them only to have that dead self come back to life and take control of their actions. Before I knew it these “walking dead” were everywhere, it had become an epidemic.
So today I come to you with some good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is no cure, I will always have to deal with these symptoms of the old dead Matt trying to take control of my life. The good news is that I am currently in treatment for my illness. I have to meet about 3-4 times a week with my support group. I also have to talk to my sponsor everyday and He has provided me with some written down instructions that I have to read everyday and then put His instructions into practice so that I can keep this Zombie inside of under control. It is an everyday struggle, some days are better than others. I just have to live it one day at a time.
Well, that is my story and by now I hope that you have figured out that this disease called “Zombism” also goes by another name. It is a name that you have heard all of your life, you just never thought of it in this way. The word is SINNER, and I would bet my last dollar that you are suffering with the same symptoms as I am. Feelings of greed, lust, anger, pride,saying things that I shouldn’t, thinking things I don’t want, doing things that I hate and not doing some of the things I should be doing. My friend that felt the same way and wrote the letter, was the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans 7 and the group from Sardis was the church that Christ spoke of in Revelation 3. My treatment is worship. My Sponsor is God and His instructions are the Bible. If I keep up with a healthy regiment of this type of Zombie Therapy or should I say Sin Therapy, I have a great chance of keeping the dead, dead! If you have experienced the same type of symptoms in any capacity don’t try to fix it by yourself seek help as soon as possible. It is real easy to reach this Great Physician, you can reach Him at “Dear Lord…”.