The other night I was watching Band of Brothers, an intensely real account of a group of airborne troopers during the preparation, invasion and aftermath of D-Day in Normandy, France. In it, a dialogue took place between Private Blythe and Lt. Spears that absolutely rocked me. Blythe was a terrified young soldier, literally paralyzed in his fear as he begins to confess to Lt. Spears that he had hidden in a ditch after landing in France.
Lt. Spears: “You know why you hid in that ditch, Blythe?”
Blythe: “I was scared.”
Lt. Spears: “We’re all scared. You hid in that ditch because you think there is still hope. But Blythe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you are already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function… All war depends upon it.”
I was stunned. The scenes of war all around these men were absolutely horrifying, but with calm, firm certainty, Lt. Spears spoke the truth: “The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you are already dead.” Already dead. It felt like I had been struck by a bullet myself in that moment and I jumped up and grabbed the remote to replay it over and over. It was a revelation moment for me, a ‘seeing’ moment where I grasped more clearly a reality that has always been.
Fear of Death No More
I so identify with Private Blythe, because hysterical fear and the fear of death have been deep strongholds in me even before I was in touch with those fears. And like Blythe, with that fear came tormenting shame and guilt and bondage. I wanted to be free but was captured by my own self-love and self-preservation.
Galatians 2:20 KJV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live…
That is a concept – no, a reality that is so difficult to truly conceive. I often proclaim it, but to grasp it and embrace it and live in its actual reality, well, that’s another matter. But for that moment, watching that movie, it was crystal clear. And I thought, “This is the gospel—the eternal Christ in me living! I am dead. This is essential to victorious warfare and prayer. Accept it. Fear is conquered. I need no longer fear death because I’m already dead!”
We are at War, in The War. It’s taken me my lifetime to really just begin to comprehend that and what that means, let alone accept it and embrace it. Though often I haven’t known it or understood it, I have been in ‘basic training,’ preparation for warfare in prayer. Through every conflict and confrontation, every circumstance He has sovereignly brought, He is sifting and reducing, calling me to that utter death.
Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
He has solved it. I am crucified with Him. I am already dead. Realizing that is costing every hope I have in myself day by day by day. I have been drafted, and I am no longer my own. AWOL is not an option for me. I am His. I am crucified with Christ and I belong to Another—to Another’s Kingdom, to Another’s vision and rights and purposes. He is my Commander and Chief as well as my Father who loves me and disciplines and chastens me. He laid down His own life to set me free to love Him and to fulfill and ‘function’ in the destiny He has called me to.
I watched as Private Blythe came to the agonizing decision to die, to accept that he was already dead, and to lay down his life and function as the valiant soldier he was called to be…