Monday, April 11, 2016

Lose It to Find It

Chuckle: “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went on ahead without it.” --Jonathan Winters
Quote: "Our self-searching prayers rise higher than our self-seeking prayers." --William Arthur Ward
"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life" (Mark 8:34-35 NLT).
The words in the Bible spoken by Jesus take on the greatest importance to me. These words from the lips of our Lord cut right to the heart of our battle within ourselves over our love for the things of this world and our love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you thought lately about your definition of success? Do your measures of success include the amount of money you have, the size of your house, or the horsepower of your car? Do you value most the world's trappings of success or God's definition for success?
In our passage, Jesus speaks both in the negative to drive His point home -- losing versus finding. He was teaching His followers about the cost of following Him -- the cost of discipleship. By asking us to take up our cross and follow Him, Jesus says we must be willing to publicly identify with Him, even in the face of opposition, and be willing to suffer and even give our lives for His sake. Henry Blackaby defines discipleship this way:
"Discipleship is more than acquiring head knowledge and memorizing Scripture verses. It is learning to give Jesus Christ total access to your life so He will live His life through you." --Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day
If we cling to the things of this life, we may forfeit the best life that Christ wants us to have both here on earth and in heaven. The more we love wealth, popularity, power, etc., the sooner we will learn how empty this life can really be. So, if you want to live a full and successful life according to God's standards, loosen your grasp on things of this world and its rewards, and take hold of Christ. I like this definition of success: "Success is fulfilling the purpose for which God created you!"
If we fail to fulfill God's purpose for our lives, there's no way we can claim success. As we invest our lives for Jesus' sake, we will find the meaning and significance of the life that God has planned for us from the beginning. We are truly successful when we allow Jesus Christ to live His life through us. Then we will "lose" this life for His sake and "find" His true life.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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