Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Losing Your Life or Finding Your Life?

In Matthew 10:34-39, Jesus says some hard things. Strong medicine...challenges our "soft" culture is not used to. Marine-like stuff...He's still looking for a "few good men" (women too!).

Jesus says that if anyone loves father or mother more than Him, he/she is not worthy of Him. Or if anyone loves son or daughter more than Him, he/she is not worthy of Him...WOW!! Put THAT in our child-centered idolatrous culture "pipe" and smoke it!

He says that if we don't take up a lifestyle of dying to self, of crucifixion of selfish desires and agendas and temporal priorities, we are not worthy of Him.

Then, at the end of His "sermon" He says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." He said similar things quite often apparently...

Later in Matthew 16:24-25 He says, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever WOULD save his life, will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

Tough words.

But words that actually end on a positive note.

It's that positive element that I so easily miss. All the time.

I have realized lately that I am a pain-avoider. I've bought into the American paradigm that the worst circumstance possible in this life is to be in a place of suffering. Suffering is the ONE thing that Americans fear above all else...and it's killing the church! Neutralizing it, actually.

...and needlessly...

What God has been teaching me is that I have been so focused and fearful of the "losing your life" element that I have minimized the promise that AS we lose our lives for Christ's sake and the sake of the Kingdom, we will actually FIND our lives!

I have so often read these verses and left them with the taste of oppression and aversion in my mouth.


Is my view of God, my Heavenly Father, really so pathetic as THAT? is.

Maybe your view of God is that pathetic...hopefully not.

Here's the deal: If the One who GAVE UP HIS LIFE says that losing our lives for His sake leads to finding them...why would we focus on the "losing" part and not emphasize the "finding" part more?!

I'll tell you why...

Lies. Lies!

I...perhaps we...listen to the lies of the enemy...lies like...if you are willing to surrender to Christ, if you're REALLY willing to lose your life, it's really gonna hurt...gonna be painful...gonna be a matter of fact, you're gonna resent it 'cause it will never be worth it.

Hmmm...what's the TRUTH say: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Rom 8:18). And, "For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Cor 4:17).

So, when Jesus challenges us to LOSE our lives in order to FIND them...He's telling us how to really experience LIFE.

Don't miss that...'cause so often, I have.

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