by David Brenneman
"And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it benefit a person to gain the whole world , and forfeit his soul? For what could a person give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:34-38 NASB
Going through the motions isn't enough in this life.
Changing ourselves into who were never intended to be is not living.
Doing what we feel is good isn't living.
Doing what our emotions dictate isn't living.
Following after the ways of the world is not living.
LIVING isn't the same as living.
Jesus describes LIVING in what we just read in Mark 8. He is pointing out...what good is it to get what you want in life on your terms? In other passages we read of laying up treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy. Of valuing what God values. Of seeing the importance of the harvest that Jesus spoke of needing workers in.
Oh this world doesn't like nor want to hear that what it sells isn't important. Marketing people and sales people do not want to hear anyone say that someone does not want what they have to offer. Even if the whole world were filled with people who were able to get whatever they wanted, became whatever they wanted, they would still find out that in the end it still meant death and separation from God. It would still mean that Hell awaits, and eventually the Judgment of God awaits that leads to the Lake of Fire and eternal separation from God in pain and torment.
There's a passage that says "There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death." Proverbs 14:12 NASB.
Proverbs 21:2 NASB "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.".
We don't have many years on this world and Satan knows it. As much as people want to view him as some guy who is red, with horns, and a weird staff in his hands on a throne in Hell, that's absolutely not what he looks like. Satan at one time had been one of the most beautiful of angels. He, even today, disguises himself as an angel of light. He's described by Jesus as a liar and the father of lies. His aim, regardless of who he kills along the way, is to get to the Throne of God and make it his own. His demons, who used to be angels themselves, join him in this unholy quest. At the cross of Christ, he celebrated! Until 3 days later when Jesus came back from the dead. With that Jesus and the plan of the Father through the Disciples turned Apostles...would change history and lives forever.
People would be taught to be disciples. People would be taught what LIVING really was about...and Satan does not like it one iota. He does not want anyone learning about holiness as God sees it. He does not want people to know the truth of God. Does not want anyone knowing that rejection of Jesus leads to Hell and eternal separation from God. Convinces the multitudes that those things are lies. He doesn't care who goes to Hell, He just does not want the will of the Father, which is to save people, to come to fruition. He does not want anyone else to find out what life is really about in Christ Jesus because they too would tell others about it. They too would keep on introducing people to Jesus.
He wants people to mutilate themselves through various kinds of surgeries to make of themselves what God never intended nor had ever entered into His mind concerning them.
We read that to find ourselves we need to give up ourselves as we see ourselves. We need to die to self and live to Christ. We cannot take a single thing with us that we strive so hard to accumulate. Unlike in decades past, when things could be built to last, in this day and time, that's something unwanted by those who make things. So we keep wasting time and money on what won't last in some vain effort to make it last.
We cannot find what LIVING means until we go and find out from Jesus what it's about.
Those in Christ have their identity IN Christ, not next to Him, not near Him, but IN Him.
Our identity isn't found in a healthy body. Our identity isn't found in what we've accumulated. Our identity is found only in Christ Jesus when we come to Christ.
Philippians 1:21 NASB "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.".
In Ecclesiastes 6:9 NASB "What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after the wind." Our souls should be desiring what God desires. The more aligned we are with His will the more we will want what He wants. Our eyes want what will atypically entangle us.
Ecclesiastes 2:16-18 NASB "For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die! So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me."
Solomon was letting us all know that we need to seek our meaning in living life in Christ...he was pointing people to Christ...do that while you can, while you are able. Andrew pointed people to Christ...that's how Peter got there. If Andrew hadn't it would need to be someone else and then Andrew would have missed out on doing so.
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness...do you?
Set your mind on things above and not on the things of the Earth...do you?
Are you so set on creating your own little world in your own little image that you set aside the righteous life that God desired for you to LIVE?
Wisdom, true wisdom for living isn't found in anything that this world has to offer. Not in psychologists, not in doctors, not in healthy this or that. It's just not.
"Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wsdom which none of the rulers of this age understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written: "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, adn which have not entered the human heart, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among people knows the thoughts of a person except the spirit of the person that is in him? So also the thoughts of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God." 1 Corinthians 2: 6-12 NASB.
When we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, we find more than we ever thought possible.
When we seek to live as God has wanted us to live we find life more abundant than we ever thought possible.
When we deny self, taking up our own cross, to follow Jesus we find a life worth LIVING.
Two plans are at play in our life. The one for each who is alive and breathing in regards to either to come to Jesus to be saved, or to live that life in Christ after being saved. The other is the plan of God for mankind that DOES have an end that's coming soon. At best this world has 1,007 years plus what time remains between this here and now and when the Rapture of the Church happens and that clock on the 1,007 years begins.
Are you making the most of your life while it's available to you? Are you at all concerned about the things that concern God? Are you at all taking the time to learn what it means to take up your own cross to follow Jesus? If indeed you are in Christ, saved by Jesus, are you living it out? Are you making what's important to God important to you? To follow Christ is to do that. The disciples were followers of Christ....what was important to Jesus was important to them.
You're not going to find your purpose and meaning in life by way of the world's wisdom or knowledge.
The Bible is often referred to as the LIVING Word of God. It describes itself as such. Living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. Able to divide even soul and spirit. It certainly is NOT just another book. It encompasses 66 books that are a love letter to mankind.
For God so loved YOU that He gave His only begotton Son, that if YOU believe in Him, you will not perish but have everlasting life.
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