What Do You Really Love and What Will It Really Yield?
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:25-26)
I have two options for my affections in this life. First and most naturally, I can love myself. If this is my priority, then I will choose all the worldly things that I believe will give me satisfaction. I will take my five senses and my body, time, and resources and use them for my gratification. The table of self-absorption offers a massive feast of options.
The tragedy of this passion for self-gratification is that it serves one person and one alone. I am the sole beneficiary. I will certainly not be walking in communion with Christ, for He is not down that road and so I will never know the intimacy with Him that is life itself. My choice will limit my relationships with others also, for no one is drawn to someone whose life is aimed inward.
I will not be preparing for the long line of eternity, but simply spending my resources on the microscopic dot of my earthly life. And, worse still, I will not know God’s honor. My life will not please Him and will never know His affirmation.
My second option is initially harder but eternally wiser. I can see the foolishness of a self-directed life and choose against it. Jesus goes so far as to describe this as “hating” this type of life. If I see this as most valuable it is because I have seen Christ and I long to follow Him—wherever He goes. I will “fall to the ground and die” just as He did.
But before you jump to this option, count the cost. What did it mean for Jesus? He died to man’s opinions, to his own comfort, to His own timing. He did not do what He desired when He desired but was driven in every decision by what would most glorify His Father. It was illogical to human minds and so at one moment those around Him were shouting “Hosanna” and the next “crucify Him.” Even his best friends and family deserted Him. Are you ready for this?
But you must not only see the cost but the reward. If you follow Him, you get HIM! You are walking with the King. You are doing that for which you were destined. You are experiencing God in His fullness. You will find the deepest satisfaction for He came to “give life and life abundantly.”
Your life will help others. Many, perhaps thousands, will benefit from your service. You will not spend your life on yourself and the limited results of a small life, but will invest in a sacrificial path that will bless and help your children and grandchildren, your colleagues, people you don’t even know and perhaps even your enemies. Everyone around you will smell the fragrance of heaven.
People will remember the initially troubling but wise truths that came from your lips. Your counter-culture life will disturb and irritate some, but those whom God is calling will be drawn to the Jesus they see you following and will join you on this path. You will be rewarded with the best companions and deepest friends that life can afford, not only for a few years but for eternity. In heaven, people you do not even know that benefitted from your life will call you blessed and welcome you into eternal dwellings.
But most importantly, the Father will honor you. You will be blessed and rewarded by the One who holds everything in His hands and can provide eternal riches! In fact, Jesus Himself will “gird Himself and serve you” which is simply beyond belief.
To enter this road, though, is not a choice for tomorrow, but today. If put off until a more convenient time you will simply create a mind game that you can play for the rest of your days. While still satisfying your flesh you think you are doing well because you INTEND to follow Christ soon. This is one more sign of a selfish life and you will remain alone in its benefits.
You must fall to the earth and die NOW—right at this moment and with every succeeding choice.
©2012 Bill Elliff. Originally posted on June 9, 2012 by Bill Elliff at The Summit Church Blog