Sunday, March 04, 2012

The 'lost' life

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 8:27-9:1

TO CHEW ON: "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 8:35

This is one of those little sayings of Jesus's that roll easily off the tongue, but are quite another thing to live.

By "whoever desires to save his life" Jesus surely isn't meaning we should obliterate our inborn instinct of physical self-preservation. But I believe He is referring to our as much inborn instinct of self-pleasing and self-serving in daily life.

Rather, we are to lose our lives for His sake as in willingly give Him the right to intervene in, interrupt, manipulate every aspect of life so that He can do what He wants through us. We hear it described as letting Him take the wheel of our lives (the car metaphor) or the rudder (the ship).

It sounds romantic, even preferable to doing life on our own, until we find ourselves in the hospital instead of the beach, confronted with the need for Sunday School teachers when our patience for kids has flown the coop with our own brood, or faced with a needy neighbour when all we want to do is take a nap.

The only way losing one's life to ourselves ever gets easier, I believe, is to make a lifestyle of it. In this regard I think of the Bible character Philip. When persecution drove the disciples out of Jerusalem, he preached in Samaria. Back in Jerusalem again, when an angel interrupted his routine with "Rise and go..." he rose and went without a question and soon came face to face with the very ripe-for-the-gospel Ethiopian eunuch. After Philip baptized him "...the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away..." and he "...found himself at Azotus" from where he carried on his preaching tour.

After living like that for a while, who would want to go back to the predictable routine of self-directed living?

PRAYER: Dear God, please teach me about losing my life for Your sake and the gospel's in my setting. Help me to experience the excitement of living at Your beck-and-call. Amen.

MORE: "The Gallows and the Gift of Life" - an allegory
"As the story begins, I was in the King's prison—the prison called 'conviction.' It was a very strange prison.

.... You might be wondering how I got there. I hadn't always been in this prison, of course. For years I had lived as far away from the palace of the King as I could. Everybody knows that if you stay far enough away, you can set up your own sort of kingdom. You can write your own laws, and pretty much run your own life. So that's what we did.
We thought of all kinds of ways to keep the King's light from bothering us. There were three rules:
1. First, stay as far away from it as you can....
2. Second, use imitation light....
3. Third, find substitute pleasures.."

Read all of "The Gallows and the Gift of Life" (based on Mark 8:34-38, Galatians 6:14 and Hebrews 13:12-14). By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

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