Fear of Following God
Luke 9:24,25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
I have this fear that if I truly follow God, He will make me sell all my stuff and move to Africa. I think, If I really follow him, I am going to miss out on all the best of life. So, I want to follow him just a little and keep all my stuff. I want it both ways. I want to live for me while retaining the minimum amount of faith it takes to save.
Jesus must have known how I would respond to his call to abandon self. It is my nature to want it both ways. I want to eat whatever I want and be in good shape. I want to work as little as possible and make a lot of money. I want credit for being a Christian and I want to follow me. I want my faith to be just a small part of who I am.
Jesus said that if I want to be his disciple, it will not be just one more facet of my identity. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, is not just a badge on my chest. I am not a Christian like I belong to a political party, social club or cheer for a sports team. Being a follower of Christ is to consume my entire identity with every pursuit in life taking a back seat to him.
My flesh nature is terrified of this. I want what I want and I fear giving up the good life. To this kind of thinking, Jesus offers up an explanation of what I actually get in the transaction. He knew that there would be those like me, who cling to stuff. Jesus said that if I live for self, I will, in the end, lose everything. It is true of course, that I cannot take my stuff with me when I die, but I think his words had more relevance than to just the afterlife.
It was my pursuit of me that led me away from God to my own destruction. I did not set out to take pills and become an addict. I set out to live the good life and follow my own desires. I just wanted to live for me. Thus, I turned from God. Paradoxically it was in the pursuit of me that I lost myself. In the end, I almost lost my family and career.
Jesus warned that this is the inevitable consequence of living for self. If I live for me, I may not end up in jail or treatment, but I will lose out on the most important thing in life, a relationship with God. The destruction may not always be obvious, but even the good life can be disastrous if it keeps me from knowing and following God.
If I insist of the right to pursue me, I will, in the end, forfeit my life and relationship with God. It is only in abandoning self that I gain both God and authentic life.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.