Daily Archives: November 7, 2020
Psalm 145:2-11 (ESV)
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
Matthew 16:24-28Common English Bible (CEB)
Saving and losing life
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 25 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. 26 Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? 27 For the Human One is about to come with the majesty of his Father with his angels. And then he will repay each one for what that person has done. 28 I assure you that some standing here won’t die before they see the Human One coming in his kingdom.”
Do these words from Jesus stir up fear in your heart? Or maybe denial? “He doesn’t literally mean lose EVERYTHING, does he?” Most of us have worked hard for what we have. Houses and cars, education, jobs, or simply food on the table: Few of us get these things handed to us. Moreover, most of us want to hang on to what we have and do and love.
And yet this is precisely what Jesus does mean. “Whoever wishes to save his life” means, whoever desires deliverance – from danger, suffering, and sickness will lose it. It means that whoever lives and strives entirely for comfort, possessions, and worldly achievements will end up losing it all – either in this life or the next.
But isn’t it right to want these things? What’s wrong with a comfortable, successful life? Absolutely nothing! The real question that Jesus’ words should raise in us is whether that’s all we’re striving for. What is the passion of our lives? God wants so much more than to see us maintaining the status quo or making a few improvements on the periphery of our lives. He knows exactly what we need and he will take care of our needs, freeing us to concern ourselves with what he wants – with living for his kingdom.
So how do we get to this point? To start, use your head. List everything you know about your Father who is asking you to lose your life for his sake. He is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, wise, compassionate, merciful, and forgiving. When memory runs dry, turn to Scripture to find more. List what God has done, like creating the world, delivering the Hebrews from Egypt, and raising Jesus from the dead. Next, use your heart. Spend some quiet time recalling what God has done for you, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a deep gratitude for all of this. Recall these powerful acts often today, and let them stir your heart with love. We simply cannot tell ourselves too often, “This is what God has done. This is the One for whose sake I am willing to lose my life.”