Losing Your Life for the Sake of Christ and the Love of Others
By Justin Woodruff
Does the word “busy” characterize your life right now? I would imagine that most of us are under constant pressure to get things done, regardless of our stage in life. Even as you read this, I wonder if you are multitasking to be as productive as possible. If I’m honest, as I type, I have a list of 10 other things in my head that I need to get done today.
I want to be a good steward of what God has given me – but how do I effectively manage all of the competing priorities in my life? How do you?
Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples were busy. They were constantly swarmed by crowds of needy people as they proclaimed the Kingdom of God, healed the sick, cast out demons, rebuked hypocritical leaders, raised the dead, and fed thousands with five loaves and a couple fish. Makes my life look pretty tame.
Beginning in Luke 9:18, the disciples enjoyed a moment alone with Jesus. During their conversation, Jesus confirmed he was the Christ, the One they had been waiting for. Can you imagine their excitement? As his closest friends, surely their lives would be marked by success, wealth, fame and good fortune.
But in his next breath, Jesus said that He would suffer, be rejected and killed in order to accomplish His ultimate purpose. And to make things worse, if these men wanted to be his disciples, Jesus said they would have to deny themselves, take up their own crosses and lose their lives for His sake. Based on Peter’s response in Matthew 16:22, it’s reasonable to conclude this wasn’t what they were expecting to hear. In fact, this paradigm shift was something the disciples struggled to understand until after Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Yet, after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, 11 of the disciples did exactly what Jesus said was necessary. They found their lives by losing them for His sake.
As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At the moment of salvation, we are given new hearts to understand our true purpose in life, which is to love God and others in everything we do. Our Christian response to busyness begins with persistently asking the Lord to reorder our affections and priorities according to what He says matters most. Our stewardship requires personal sacrifice.
But what does it look like to deny ourselves and take up our crosses as we follow Christ in the 21st century?
This weekend, we are going to spend some time talking about a new ministry at Spotswood West that centers around caring for orphans. For many, I suspect the thought of adding anything more to your busy lives seems overwhelming. Before we gather this Sunday, let me encourage you to take at least a few minutes to pray over Luke 9:23-25, and what it might look like practically to lose your life for the sake of Christ and the love of others. Not because you are saved by what you do, but out of an overflow of love in your heart for Jesus and desire to live with His purposes.