The death in following...
John 12:24-25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.
Though here Jesus is talking about following his Father at which requires an enormous sacrifice. More often than not, we ignore this sacrifice. After talking with many missionaries, they find it easy for this concept of following God to take root in the poor countries they serve. Why? It’s because they are dying, desperate, and in absolute need of a savior. I have heard stories upon stories of those who the poor cry out to God minute by minute. Desperation is often a requirement for God to catch our attention. I can think of many situations in my life where my sin has lead to desperate moments where God used me to change. However, why do we have to be desperate? Here Jesus is calling for a life where we are not desperate, but where we voluntarily choose a life that is opposite of what the world wants. He wants us to live in a way that is constant desperation of Him. Where our entire life is a total focus in upon His plan, His goals, His ideals. We become a true meaning of a servant, a life lived not for your own. But we don’t often take this path. In many cases, we want glimpses of Christianity, such as God’s love and his blessing but ignore the following and the obeying.
So what can I do? Well, in reality there is nothing I can do in terms of everyone else, but as for me, advancing to obedience is the beginning, but far from complete. The question in my heart I must ponder is, “Do I love God or do I love the world?” The glitter of this world is fun, exciting, and tantalizing. I grew up with it. The ideals of study hard, work hard, make money, succeed. The thought of gaining more, constant growth, and growth in influence and power is all around the people I associate with on a daily basis. But you see these ideas, they seduces me pull my heart to conform. Like a guy trying new pickup lines to a girl in a bar, is how the world is trying to win us. It never stops, and you know what, we fall for it. I do every day. It may not be obvious in some areas of my life, but some choices I make it is evident. I read a book where the writer claimed to get a vision from God seeing that the way the devil and his minions deceive us is that he preys upon our feelings of insignificance and inferiority. Our need to feel important and have some semblance of power has lead us to do some outrageous things. This is where in lies the issue, the insatiable desire for significance and power. John often says sin starts in the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life. We are in love with ourselves. But let me make this personal, I am in love with me. I too look at this see why Jesus said, “the man who hates his life.” We must hate our life regardless of how it is turning out. But it’s easy to hate your life when things are going wrong. Of course if everything is stripped away from you you hate it and are more than eager to follow the one who can better it. But for me and many others, we love our life, we want to make it better, we want the glory, wealth, comfort, and ease that money, power, and fame can buy. We don’t want that life of living in the desert, or doing a job you hate because you feel God called you to do that job, or walking away of a life of wealth to a life of poverty. That’s not our ideal, that’s not what I was taught, that’s not what this world wants you to do. So many of us sit in a quandary of questions and decisions that must be made. A daily choice of God’s way or my way regardless where I end up. Its like a marriage, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. The challenge is to start sinking your teeth in to what this life of a Christian is really about. Is it about me? I think not.
Lord its about you, not about me.