"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.'"- Matthew 16:24-25
It seems like I am hearing or dealing with death more and more. There are individuals who have lost their battle with illnesses and families dealing with the heartache of a loved one leaving this world. I have heard of friends losing relatives to suicide or drug overdose. Death is difficult and it is even harder when you have to be the one comforting those coping with the loss, but what about when you’re the one facing the possibility?
As Christians, how should we view death? Should we fear it? Should we be watching every turn to avoid any trouble? Or should we embrace the fact that God has given us life and it is His call when we are to return to Him?
This is such a difficult concept to embrace. As a man, I have a duty to be here for my wife and my child. However, my first duty is to Jesus. So, if He calls me to serve in a community known for violence, should I flee in order to protect my life for my family? What about a young person called to go on a mission trip to a country ravaged by violence against Christians? Should parents hold them back in order to protect them?
These are difficult questions, but the answer to both is…no! Christ challenged His disciples to drop everything and follow Him…and they did. He challenged a man to leave all of his riches behind to walk with Him in ministry and he couldn’t. Giving up your life is not optional when you choose to follow Jesus, it is mandatory!
Your life and everything in it is His. I have asked myself the question, what if my son wants to serve overseas in an environment that is life threatening? If He is truly led by Christ to do this, how will I react? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know! I know what my response should be, but I don’t know if I can do it?!
Life on earth is fleeting, but when I stepped into my life as a Christian I made the decision to follow Jesus with everything I am to have eternal life. My life is no longer my own, therefore my peace and rest comes from the knowledge that God is in charge. He guides my steps and my hope is I can embrace His call to deny myself and follow. I cannot desire to save my life, but I must desire to live the life God has for me by denying my own.
Death is difficult. Losing life is hard. However, when we embrace Christ’s message of redemption and eternal hope in Him, then our peace and rest comes from His promise of everlasting life when we follow Him.