A friend once jubilantly declared: “I just love my life!” My immediate response was: ‘That’s good. We should all love our lives’. But should we?
In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says: He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for My sake, will find it. What exactly does this mean? If we are to be followers of Jesus, we must sit loosely with the things of the world; home, job, possessions, loved ones, reputation, status, money… anything that can potentially become an idol. If we cling to the lives we have built in our own strength, wisdom and ability, we will lose our lives. But if we let go of the things in life we hold dearly, we will find the life and purpose for which God created us.
If God asked you to sell all you have and give the proceeds to poor, could you? Or would you be like the rich young ruler, who walked away sad? Do you love your mother and father or son and daughter more than you love The Lord? Then, Jesus says in Matthew 10:37, “You are not worthy of Me.”
The truth of the matter is if there is anything that comes close to competing with your affection and devotion to God, you’re on a slippery slope. We serve a jealous God whose highest priority for our lives is intimacy with Himself. He wants available, surrendered vessels through whom He can work unhindered. If you have goals, dreams and means of your own, what happens when The Lord interrupts your plans for His purposes?
This is an especially alarming thought for those “working for The Lord” in ministry. Andrew Murray said: “Self, seeking to do God’s work is far more dangerous than refusing to obey”.
This is a sad commentary of the state of many churches today. Self, not God, rules. The so-called “prosperity gospel” and the “feel good gospel” have summarily hindered the work of The Holy Spirit, rendering much of the church impotent. The Word is clear. Signs and wonders will follow those who believe. When was the last time you saw an actual sign or wonder take place in your church?
It seems that much of the church has been lulled into a state of complacency and has become so distracted by the cares of the world to even notice how much ground the enemy has recently gained.
Consider the ever-growing psychotropic drug industry. America is the most emotionally depressed nation in the world. People in Third World countries with far less material wealth are much happier than Americans. Why is that? Mental illnesses, moral depravity, crime, including mass murders, have somehow become normal.
American houses are bigger than ever while families are smaller than ever. Yet, there exists a curious fact: public storage is a multi-billion dollar industry. All our “stuff” is still not enough to fill the God shaped void in our souls.
What does this say about the spiritual state of affairs in America? Mega churches rule the airwaves but the condition of many of their congregants and surrounding communities remain unchanged if not worsened. Where is the power to effect change in the human heart and subsequently, in our communities?
God’s Word is very clear. If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14). Where is the teaching about humility and repentance in the church today? Virtually non-existent.
Just last week, my husband was approached by a man in the parking lot of a grocery store. The man told him that he was part of a very large, well known ministry that was starting a church in Los Angeles. A group of men were starting a church based on investing in concerts for secular artists. He said their initial venture was so successful that there were so many Rolls Royces in the parking lot that you could not tell which one belonged to the pastor. There was no talk of God, the Gospel or the lost. Did I mention that they are starting a church?
Remember, it is believers like you and I who make up the church. We are called to preach the Gospel to a hurting, blind, dying world. John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. 1John 3:16 says: By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Like with the rich young ruler, The Holy Spirit has an uncanny way of zeroing in on the heart of the matter. What has He been nudging you about surrendering? A habit? A person? A desire? What are you clinging to? If you focus on that thing more than God, it is a potential idol that must be dealt with as it is an open door for the enemy of your soul.
Satan does not have to conjure up new tricks to ensnare us. The old ones work just fine: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. And let’s not forget the old tried and tested: Love of money. To be sure, it is the root of all kinds of evil.
Throughout Scripture, we are called to lay down our lives, die to self, humble ourselves. So again, I ask you; “Do you love your life?’ If your answer is yes, consider what Christ did on the Cross for mankind and consider the instructions of Jesus regarding overcoming the enemy: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11).
Jesus humbled Himself unto death in obedience to His Heavenly Father. Even though His flesh wanted the cup to pass, He chose to die to His flesh. “Nevertheless, not My will but Thy will be done”. I am reminded of a group of missionaries taking Bibles into Communist China. When asked if they feared death, immediately replied: “We have already died”.
May God help each of us choose to lose our life for Christ’s sake, so we can find it.