Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can I Save My Life?

In my reading this morning, I was reminded of the depths of some of Jesus’ words.  In Matthew 16:25 He says: “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it.”  I hear (and read) those words and think: “So many fear death, but it will come for them anyway, even for me, and ---- well, and I think “Do Not Be Anxious.”  It’s just another thing to trust in the Lord about, to have faith.
But, the author of the book I was reading reminded me, His words mean so much more.
Life is not just a body with a beating heart; life also is how we live.  “Whoever wishes to save his life,” I was reminded, in many ways describes me.
I am blessed in so many ways, and I just take them for granted --- and even pray for more blessings.  I am often reminded of the sick, the poor, the old, or those in despair.  But those are not me, I think.  I pray for them, and I take actions to be God’s instrument, to bring His love to them.  I pray their needs be met.  In truth, if I think about it, I pray that their material needs be met (even through my hand) so that they may better tend to their spiritual needs.
But what about my life?
“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it.”  Do I wish to save my life, my blessings?  Do I just assume they’ll always be there?  But they won’t, I know.  Whether I live extravagantly or most humbly, do I in some way idolize my life and try to ensure it does not change?  Do I become angry if it does?  Do I wish to save my life style?  But Jesus said, if I cling to this life style, if I hold it in importance, I WILL lose it.  Why?  Doesn’t He want good for me?  Doesn’t He want me to live the life I do, trusting in Him?  Doesn’t He love me, and wish me well?
Of course the answers to those questions are: “Yes.”  But in even asking them I make a major assumption:  I only want good things, things He would want for me.  I only want to do His will.  I only want to be an instrument of His peace.  Am I wrong to want those things?  And of course the answer to this question is that it is not wrong to want to do the will of God.  But do I really understand my life and my wants?  Do cling to them?  Am I content with them?
What if they are taken away?  Jesus reminded me this morning that in some ways, “I wish to save my life.”  In some ways I think I know the right way to live.  In some ways I am quite sure about His will for me.  And I don’t wish those ways to change; I wish to save my life, in ways that I think save it.  But I forget:  It was He who came to save me.  I am not here to save myself.
The book I reviewed here last, some of my friends, and now this little quote from Scripture all remind me:  We all want what is best for ourselves, and we all think we know what it is.
Faith is trusting that the ways of God are truly beyond my knowing and understanding, and accepting that my ways may not be God’s ways.  And if I cling to my ways, my life, I WILL lose it.  And I must be prepared for that.
I need to have faith, regardless of events, not just in good times.  I need to be prepared for anything, and to not be anxious.  This is true faith.  This is giving up my life, willingly, as He did.  “For it is in giving that we receive.”

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