By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

It’s intriguing to hear stories of near death experiences when someone dies but is brought back to life.

A friend of mine had just such an experience a couple of years back. She went in for routine surgery but had a severe reaction to the anesthesia and her heart stopped. Thankfully, the medical team was able to revive her, but her encounter with death left a lasting impression, as you can imagine.

Death changes everything. And not just physical death when we pass from this life and into eternity, but the kind of death that puts an end to things like unhealthy relationships, lifestyles, mindsets, or addictions.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:32).

As a Christ follower, I encounter fleshly desires that war against my soul every day. I bet you do too.

“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (Romans 7:21-23).

The desires of the flesh conflict with the heart of God, which is why, day by day, and truth by truth, God is working to remove these unwanted traits in us:

  • Addiction
  • Toxic thoughts
  • Selfishness
  • Greed
  • Unforgiveness
  • Control
  • Fear
  • Pride

As a Jesus follower, we should be experiencing the death of fleshly desires on a regular basis.

In preparation for this post, I called my friend to talk to her about her near death experience and she graciously gave me permission to share her story.

I asked if she had any memory of what took place that fateful day. Did she see a bright light or did she over her body like some people say they experience?

She said that she did not see a bright light or hover over her body, but instead, she experienced indescribable peace; a kind of peace that she had never experienced before, or since. She further explained that she felt a loving presence with her, asking if she would like to stay. She said that it was very tempting to stay, but she felt it wasn’t her time and her family needed her. As soon as the decision was made (as she described it) she was pulled back into the chaos with the doctors and nurses working on her.

I asked her if the experience had changed her in some way, and her answer was profound. She said, “I no longer fear death because I know what follows—peace.”

The same is true for us when we put to death things like toxic thoughts, destructive behaviors, and ungodly character traits, peace follows. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace that we will never want to leave. The kind of peace that is a bold reminder; there’s no need to fear death in the future.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Die to self, live for Christ, and don’t let the enemy pull you back into the chaos.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).