What are you willing to lose?

December 18, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
(Mark 8:35 (NIV))

It is human nature to not want to lose. This is especially true if losing means that you lose your life! Most of us aren’t even willing to lose if by our losing, everyone else wins. We have to come out on top. We have to prove that we are best at everything! This often means that we think that we are right even when we are eternally wrong!

Take a look at the words in the first part of the passage above. Saving your life implies that you place nothing above yourself. You will go to any extreme to make sure that your physical life is protected even at the expense of others. You are your first and often, your only priority. You possess no love. You possess no joy. You often possess no peace, patience, or kindness. Little about your life is good. Since you place yourself first, you possess little or no faith. You treat others as lower than yourself, so you lack gentleness and self-control. Does this sound like a life that you would want to live? Does this sound like a life that you would want?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Does the second half of the passage start to sound better and make more sense?

We can’t live a life that is Christ centered if we strive to save our earthly life. We are called to be witnesses. We can’t witness to others if all we think about is ourselves. We can’t be willing to go because we would be outside of our comfort zone.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

I know that I am forever thankful that Jesus was willing to lose His earthly life for the sake of others. What if He had balked at the idea of dying for our sins? What if he had decided to not leave the Father to come to earth? What if Jesus had decided that it was simply not worth leaving the glory of heaven to come into this world? The majesty of the story as told in Luke 2 would never have happened. The tearing of the veil of the Temple would never have taken place. Faith, hope and love would only be a dream of something that could happen. Grace and mercy would simply be nonexistent. John 3:16 would not be true.

All of this was made possible because Jesus was willing to lose His life for others. Most of us aren’t even willing to lose our place in line! It takes a sacrifice to place others first.

What are you willing to lose?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can your requests be considered a test?

January 27, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
(Luke 4:12 (NIV))

How many of us can honestly say that they have never done this?

It is human nature to try and get the upper hand in all things that we do. We like to come out on top. We like to be number one. We like to get the most out of what we do, or at least to get more than the people that we know.

How many of you, when presented with some fantastic news about someone else’s achievements, secretly think that it should have been you?

If we are not careful, we take this to extremes. To be honest with you, even a little is a sin. We covet what someone else has. Now, imagine if that someone else is God.

Yes, we even try to get the upper hand in our dealings with God. We will beg and plead. We will negotiate. We will do whatever we think that we can if it will mean that we come out on top. We will even go so far as to say something like this, “God, if You will only do this, I will serve you. I will devote my whole life to You.”

Sadly, this type of thing happens more often than we care to admit. I honestly believe that most, if not all, of us have tried to make this type of bargain with God.

If this isn’t testing God, then I don’t know what is. We base our faith on what God will do for us first. We base our faith on what we think that God is good for. We overlook the all important and obvious gift that He already willingly shares with all who will simply accept that gift.

I often wonder how God reacts to our feeble attempts to negotiate with Him. Does He roll His eyes? Does He shed a tear for our ignorance? Does He think that we are fools for asking for something that is trivial, when He has already given us the possibility of eternity with Him?

Think about how you approach God. Can your requests be considered a test?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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