You know what a rolling stop is, right? It is what less responsible (or more distracted or in-a-hurry) drivers do when we get to an intersection. We sort of stop, but not really. We pull up to a stop sign, glance around, then start to pull off before the car fully stops. But then, just about the time the hood of the car is in the center of the intersection, we see the cop sitting there just behind a tree, looking for people like us who roll through intersections without actually stopping. We see him and there we are, sitting in the middle of the intersection. We put the brakes on to stop completely. Then we pray for mercy. Then we start again.
And as we drive on through, we hope.
As with driving, so with life. That complete stop is the step many of us miss. There we are, speeding along with our bad habits and dysfunctions, hoping we don’t get caught. Then something happens to get our attention. We realize we probably ought to stop but instead of bringing everything to a complete halt, we tend to roll through the intersection.
We don’t really want to stop the old behavior. We don’t really want to submit to holiness, the life Jesus calls us to. We just want to slow down and make sure we’re not about to kill or be killed. Then we roll on through.
That may be our pattern, but that is not the pattern of the resurrected life. For resurrection to happen, the body has to stop. In a real resurrection, there is a period of darkness, of battle, of facing the enemy of our souls, of facing the lies head-on and speaking truth over them so they lose their sting.
Resurrection isn’t about rolling through the intersection. It is about killing the old life so something completely new can exist.
Bud McCord says, “The language of the New Testament is not change language. It is begin-again language. It is leaving the Kingdom of darkness and going into the Kingdom of Light. It is leaving death and entering life. It is being crucified with Christ to begin living in Christ.”
Think of resurrection as re-creation, and of faith in the power of resurrection as creative faith — the kind of faith that calls us out of the old and into the new.
That decision to roll through the intersection seems harmless most of the time. Maybe even more efficient. No one is around, we think. What’s the harm in it? Where’s the harm in me holding onto this one habit, this one grudge, this one offense? Can’t I just roll on through and hope for the best?
Here’s the hard fact: that choice to roll on through doesn’t lead to the power of the resurrection. Maybe that’s why Paul said about himself, “by any means possible.” He said, “So that by any means possible, I may attain the resurrection.”
That means everything is on the table, nothing held back. I will do whatever it takes, by any means possible, to experience life in all its richness.
Because “whatever it takes” is the difference between a rolling stop and a resurrection.