Saturday, November 14, 2009

They That Love Their Lives Will Lose Them!

By Joe Ortiz
     Those who scoff at people who follow Jesus Christ, and what is perceived by them as foolishness, may never see the reality and truth in God’s word. For example, in John 12:25, it states that “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” To them that has to be one of the most stupid verses ever promulgated by any sane human being.
     Probably, to them, they do not understand its profound meaning.
     We have always been inculcated by society that to pursue liberty and happiness is what life is all about; what person of sound mind could deny this as a healthy and even noble purpose. We have been raised to work hard to achieve all (and as much) happiness as possible and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, for the disciples of Christ (those who have chosen to pick up their crosses and follow Jesus), there is an even more significant purpose for those who not only understand true love, but know what it requires.
     These folks do not prepare for the future by working solely to purchase things that please the flesh, nor do they work solely to enjoy all the recreational and fun things being offered up by the money changers of the world in this roller coaster journey we call life. They don’t even think about their work as a means to save enough to one day retire in comfort.
     Obviously it takes money to purchase necessities, but mostly it should be used to secure resources to help those without. Their work is not geared to buying things many people cherish, the things of the world that amuse and titillate the flesh, to eat at those new restaurants, buying unneeded clothing and jewelry, new cars and homes, and all the other luxuries life has to offer.
     These have chosen the life of a servant to do God’s will, which is to care for the poor, infirm, homeless, orphans and other people in need. They know that all money is God’s money and they are mere stewards who use acquired funds for the service of others.
     Much money is spent for unnecessary items, those things that supposedly provide self-esteem such as the latest fashions, haute cosmetics, gym classes, fad diets, occult awareness sessions and all of those things that (are supposed to) bring us self worth and other intrinsic, ego-stroking pleasure.
     No, these folks who do not love this current (temporal) life are devoted to work that results in their storing their treasures in heaven, those acts and deeds that touch the lives of those less fortunate, not those temporal toys (and tangible) accoutrements that will eventually turn to dust, which will also be tested by fire to see if they last on Judgment Day.
     Once again, Matthew Henry, one of history’s greatest commentators on things biblical, provides deep insights to what it means when God tells His children, that if you love your life (in this temporal world) you will eventually lose it:

     He foretells and promises an abundant recompense to those who should cordially embrace him and his gospel and interest, and should make it appear that they do so by their faithfulness in suffering for him or in serving him.
     In suffering for him (v. 25): He that loves his life better than Christ shall lose it; but he that hates his life in this world, and prefers the favor of God and an interest in Christ before it, shall keep it unto life eternal. This doctrine Christ much insisted on, it being the great design of his religion to wean us from this world, by setting before us another world.
     See here the fatal consequences of an inordinate love of life; many a man hugs himself to death, and loses his life by over-loving it. He that so loves his animal life as to indulge his appetite, and make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, shall thereby shorten his days, shall lose the life he is so fond of, and another infinitely better. He that is so much in love with the life of the body, and the ornaments and delights of it, as, for fear of exposing it or them, to deny Christ, he shall lose it, that is, lose a real happiness in the other world, while he thinks to secure an imaginary one in this. Skin for skin a man may give for his life, and make a good bargain, but he that gives his soul, his God, his heaven, for it, buys life too dear, and is guilty of the folly of him who sold a birth-right for a mess of pottage.
     See also the blessed recompense of a holy contempt of life. He that so hates the life of the body as to venture it for the preserving of the life of his soul shall find both, with unspeakable advantage, in eternal life. Note, First, It is required of the disciples of Christ that they hate their life in this world; a life in this world supposes a life in the other world, and this is hated when it is loved less than that.
     Our life in this world includes all the enjoyments of our present state, riches, honors, pleasures, and long life in the possession of them; these we must hate, that is, despise them as vain and insufficient to make us happy, dread the temptations that are in them, and cheerfully part with them whenever they come in competition with the service of Christ, Acts 20:24; 21:13; Rev. 12:11.
     See here much of the power of godliness—that it conquers the strongest natural affections; and much of the mystery of godliness—that it is the greatest wisdom, and yet makes men hate their own lives. Secondly, Those who, in love to Christ, hate their own lives in this world shall be abundantly recompensed in the resurrection of the just. He that hateth his life shall keep it; he puts it into the hands of one that will keep it to life eternal, and restore it with as great an improvement as the heavenly life can make of the earthly one.
     Thank you, Matthew Henry, for your gift of discernment, allowing us the privilege to see deeply into God’s word for its illuminating and edifying wisdom.
     Folks, the true followers of Christ throughout history have been persecuted and many have been killed for their belief in Jesus. The early disciples were heavily persecuted, yet they continued to grow in faith. Not only did they have to deal with tribulation, they also had to deal with false teachings. Sadly, some people use Christ as a tool for personal gain in this world. We don’t have to point to the obvious group of electronic church preachers who use their religion as a means to get wealthy; their deeds are known to most people, to the shame of those who truly work to tender the downtrodden. Some so called “Christians” even (today) persecute and kill innocent people for more wealth and power. These corrupt the truth of the gospel to lay up treasures on this earth rather than in heaven.
     It is important to realize that just because one calls themselves a Christian people (or nation), does not mean they will enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life. Those who do the will of the Father which is in heaven will enter the kingdom. Jesus said to love your enemies and to do good to them that hate you. He said to pray for them which persecute you.
     Today, there are still those who do the will of God, and those who do not do the will of God. And, the end of it all, for them, is the eternal promise of God for those who choose to lose their lives for Jesus. That promise is found in the verse (26) that follows:

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor (John 12:26, KJV)


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