Recognize Your Life

July 21, 2021

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. Romans 8:11 NLT

When Japan surrendered after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, World War II came to an end. But the war didn’t end for one Japanese soldier for almost three decades after the war ended. This man, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, was an intelligence officer deployed to the Philippines with orders to never surrender or kill himself. Onoda was 22 years old when he was sent to the Philippines in December 1944. The orders were so deeply engrained in his mind that when allied forces arrived at the island in 1945, he retreated into the hills and continued fighting as a guerrilla. He survived on coconut milk, bananas, and stolen cattle, all the while continuing to engage in occasional fights with the local police.

Onoda was terribly alone, but that did not break his resolve—he continued to stand firm through incredible hardship. Onoda agreed to surrender only when his former commanding officer personally went to the island where he was hiding and convinced him that the war had ended. His comrade persuaded him to come out and accept the forgiveness and new life available to him. Mr. Onoda, age 52 when he realized the war was actually over, wept uncontrollably as he agreed to lay down his rifle. He had wasted nearly three decades of his life fighting a war that was already won.

That story is so wildly incomprehensible that it seems it couldn’t be true. Yet it is. And it is true in a spiritual sense for many of us as we have been forgiven by Christ. He paid the price to forgive us and give us true freedom from the old way of life. But we keep fighting a war that is already over. We must come out of the jungle of lies and inferiority and recognize the life we now have—a life of freedom.

The life that Jesus provides is the abundant life—a life of greater freedom and power than we even recognize. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides in us! My feeble attempts to fight the war I have been fighting cannot win—it’s already been won. It is my best wisdom to surrender, lay down my old ways, and recognize that freedom and life are mine.

  • Jesus, show me when I am living in bondage, hiding in the jungle of my old life. Help me recognize my life and the power and abundant freedom I have through You. Help me choose moment by moment to live in the power of Your resurrection. Amen.
  • Throughout the day, remind yourself over and over again of who you are and what your life is. Read your Scriptures from yesterday.