LET GO TO LIVE UP
It seems odd to think that it is only by losing that we could find something.
It seems intriguing to know that we can find life’s true value after we give it up.
It is unusual to tell that life meaning could be found only after giving it up.
The topic makes us curious as we go deep down to find that the essence of life could be better understood if we learn to LET IT GO TO LIVE UP.
The Message in Paradox
In verse 35 of Mark:8, Jesus said that whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses it for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Jesus’ statement is a paradox.
It is an illustrative statement of two contradicting, opposite, absurd statements yet it expresses a latent truth.
It might not be logical to the listeners but it points us to a truth that God wants us to understand. God’s wisdom is different from humans.
That is why we notice that in many of His statements He usually mentioned “those who have ears shall listen” and “Verily, verily I say unto you…”
There is a message hidden in Jesus’ statement that could only be grasped if we have those ears willing to listen and a heart wide open to accept His words.
Two Contradictory truths
The world teaches us that to save means to keep it up and preserve its value.
So people save his life by keeping up something that would benefit him. Human exerts his effort to be able to control his surrounding that would sustain his life in his favor even if turns that he became selfish and self-centered.
The danger of man focusing his attention and energy to preserve his life is missing to understand that we cannot do anything. After all of this, it will end in vain for what profit does a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul.
The gospel of John says that without God, we can do nothing.
What Jesus teaching us is contradictory to what the world is teaching us.
We have learned in our lifetime that to be able to save our lives, we need to protect and keep them intact. By any means, we survive our life from any external threat. While there is an intriguing statement, we need to lose our life for God’s sake in able to save it.
He said that if we lose our life for God’s sake and of the gospel, we will find life.
The true meaning of life is when we hand over the control of our life into the hands of God.
We can truly discover the beauty that life brings when we let it go and let God shows us to see life from His perspective. The master designer knows best as He is the one who laid out the blueprint of our life.
DON’T PRESERVE THE TEMPORARY
Our human thinking is so limited that our perception of how to save ourselves might be enough, but we are wrong.
We should never preserve the temporary.
In one of the parables Jesus taught, the rich man said to himself “ I am rich, I have so much harvest that my storehouse is not enough. I will demolish it and build a bigger one”.
Preserving the temporary makes us foolish like the rich man in the parable. We concentrate on preserving what will not last. Keeping up things that can be stolen, rusted, and destroyed by moths, washed out by floods, blown by the storms, and can be burned by fire.
Don’t preserve the temporary because we deserve something that lasts. A life of eternity worthy to be longing for of which only in God we can find.
Focusing on saving the temporary losses our opportunity to experience a life that leads to eternity.
CROSSROAD OF CHOICES TO MAKE
Today we are being offered a lot of choices.
In fact, daily we are at the crossroads of choosing which one would be a better choice.
When you are at a buffet table and all the foods are enticing, it boils up your appetite. It makes your stomach roar. There are times when you want to taste all of it but you can’t.
Like choosing a dress, my wife has that gift to meticulously cross-examine every piece, and fit it out back in forth inside the dressing room, from one store to the other while I’m waiting patiently as her “consultant” and “fashion show audience”.
Why, because there are a lot of choices and we have to pick the best.
If this law works in the physical round, then it should also apply in the spiritual round. We should never settle for less.
That is why we should not so indulge in the temporary but rather focus on something that lasts. Never so concentrated on the physical but also on the spiritual.
He wanted us to choose him. But God is a respecter of free will.
THE BASIS OF OUR DECISION
Jesus asked His disciples what people say about Him. And they replied that He was Elijah, some said he was John the Baptist and others said one of the prophets.
But Jesus asked them personally, who He was for them and Peter boldly said that He was the Messiah.
God wanted to hear what we know of Him. God wanted us to have that deep knowledge of Him not because this is what we heard from others but because this is our experience of Him
He is establishing an intimate relationship with us.
He wanted that we choose Him not because of fear but because of love.
Loving Him cause us to obey and follow Him but he gave us the condition that if we desire to follow Him, there should be no more turning back like a man flowing his farm in the field.
Our decision to follow and obey God should be founded on truth and the relationship He established in us.
Narrow is the road that leads to a path where God is. Many choose the wider road as these are more comfortable, with fewer hassles. It’s a freeway where everybody is going.
The decision to choose God is a tough decision because we have to lose our life for God’s sake and in obedience to the gospel.
To follow God is to follow Him on the narrow road away from the trance where many love to walk.
To embrace God is to walk with Him on the road less traveled.
In verse 34 Jesus said to His disciples, “if you want to follow me, deny yo
urself; carry your cross and follow me.
To serve God and save our life is costly because we need to exchange all that we considered as valuable. What He demands is not just what is available but He wants all.
Are we willing to lose our life for the sake of the gospel? Then we have to continue reading this article.
DECISION TO FOLLOW
Now that we assess the demand of following God and His gospel, our journey starts.
Like a man who builds his house, he built it on the rock so that flood comes it will not be washed away.
In verse 34 Jesus said to His disciples, “if you want to follow me, deny yourself; carry your cross and follow me.
If we are deciding to follow Him, we have to deny ourselves. We must be ready to disown and reject anything that makes us too proud and brags about who we are because of our position, our possessions, our gifts, our talents, and our connections.
It is denying ourselves when we are elected to a public office and for us to reject any outside influence or any opportunity we know that it could make us wealthy yet we choose to live a life of integrity because we know that it is not our money but it’s the money of the people we serve. That it’s not your money but by the owner of the company. That it’s not yours but by the ministry you serve.
Is it not renouncing to oneself when Zacheo the chief tax collector went down the sycamore tree and was convicted to return more than twice of his wealth to anyone whom he defrauded?
Are you willing to hear from your friend that your fool if they tell you “sayang naman, palay na ang lumalapit sa manok”. Anyway, your spouse is not here and nobody could see. Is it not renouncing yourself when you have the opportunity like Joseph rejected the offer of Potiphar’s wife to have slept with her?
Is it not denial when you are lower than your ego and pride because you forgive the person who rejects you. Those people who talked about you. Is it not denying when David has the opportunity to get even with King Saul when he had that chance to kill him?
A follower is no greater than his master. Jesus denied himself and accepted the will of His Father even on the cross.
How much more of us are willing to follow Him?
CARRY YOUR CROSS
Carrying the cross is the consequence when we deny ourselves.
When we decided to renounce what is due to us it becomes our burden, it becomes our cross.
There is always sacrifice when you choose to forgive. You deny yourselves when you lower your pride just to be reconciled with your loved ones. You carry your cross when you sacrifice to accept him even if the past continues to linger in your mind. The wound is still there but you sacrifice because you choose to love.
You carry your cross when your life is not that plenty because you reject the opportunity to open the box. It hurts to see sometimes your children don’t have that much luxury even if you have that chance by using your position and connection to corrupt other people’s money.
You carry your cross when you send that “balikbayan” box to your family even if it takes you months to fill it and patiently wait for “Sales”. You sacrifice so that others might live.
Is it not carrying your cross when you take care of other children?
miles away from your own just only to make sure that they live, experience a life you have not experienced before, and that they may pursue their dreams.
It’s a sacrifice to follow Jesus when you take his burden as our burden. When we choose to serve God by serving His people without waiting for neither reward nor consolation.
We can only truly follow Jesus when we deny ourselves; we carry
that cross and yet continue to follow even if that cross is still on our shoulders.
We cannot follow when we carry our cross yet we have too many complaints. It does just make the cross heavier.
We follow Him with the awareness that there might be an inconvenience; we may not be having that luxury yet we still continue to walk with God.
Even if that past continues to haunt your relationship, you continue to move forward because you choose to forgive, you choose to love.
The path might not be the road many traveled but this is the road that many missed. It’s the road to eternity because where God is leading us, He will surely bless us.
LET GO TO LIVE UP
In verse 37 what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Are we willing to give up earthly things to receive the heavenly things?
Are we willing to deny everything that is fleeting and temporary for the sake of eternity?
Unless we learn to let go of ourselves we will not live up to what God has in store for us.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul.
May you have the courage to let go.