Beware the predator of self-preservation.

7 02 2016

We instinctively defend ourselves and avoid danger. The call to take up our cross and follow Jesus will therefore meet strong resistance from within, for the Jesus way is a way of risk. Jesus taught us that the desire to preserve our own well-being can disqualify us from gaining life which eternal. He put this in the strongest terms,

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-36).

This bold contrast seems harsh, but Jesus describes a spiritual dynamic that is essential for the disciple to grasp. One who applies his energies to this earthly life cannot at the same time apply those energies to life eternal. In the same way, a disciple who desires to build into the kingdom of God cannot with the same fervor invest in the kingdoms of this earth. In this way, we see that the call to sacrifice is a call away from the magnetic pull of humanities values.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Conformity to this world’s system leads to self-preservation and advancements measured by the metrics of this life: material possessions, title, power, security, and self-gratification. The call of Golgotha on the disciple beckons us to live counter to the culture and values of this world. Our minds must be renewed according to the Holy Spirit. We must see that our reasonable service to God is to present our bodies as sacrifices, still living, but dead to self-preservation.


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