The more time I spend with the Lord, the more my focus turns away from myself to Him and the clearer it becomes that Christ and His glory is the end of it all. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. I can choose to make my life matter and build into His Kingdom and His glory, or I can continue to live life for myself, for my own wants and needs, resulting in a more comfortable life that amounts to no eternal value. How many people who profess to have accepted Christ’s message of salvation continue to live life as if they haven’t heard the message of the all-creating, all-sustaining God who reconciled man to Himself by sacrificing His own son? We can never deserve or even boast of this ultimate act of love and mercy. How then are we allowed to keep the focus on our own lives and comforts while Christ and His glory come second?
In my opinion the majority of believers are happy to first deal with their own wants and needs, and if there is time or energy left at the end of the day, then that can be spent on Christ…if we feel like it. Does Christ not deserve our all? Did He pay the ultimate price for us and give us the ultimate reward so that we can serve ourselves primarily? I think not, and I am deeply convicted by this selfishness in my own life.
The more I spend time in thought, the more I spend time searching the scriptures and listening to testimonies of those individuals who have given up their own lives for Him, the more I realise that I should not even really consider my own comforts here on earth. In the great equation of what is of eternal value and importance, my comfort and security should feature very low on that list. If it can be to the glory of Christ, then I should even be happy to sacrifice good things like my own joy and leasure. If it would further Christ’s kingdom and if it’s in line with His will, my comfort should be completely sacrificed and my finances and health should come second to Christ’s glory. This is of course completely contrary to many teachings we hear today where it seems that Christ came for man’s glory and happiness – oh and don’t forget wealth!
If we read His word with understanding and not only take out bits and pieces as it suits us, we have to come to the realisation that Christ calls us not to only accept His message of salvation, but to offer up and put everything in our lives on the back seat, even if it means distress (financial/physical/ emotional). The purpose of it all should always remain the glory and Kingdom of Christ, not our own happiness. This is undoubtedly an unpopular call and the reason so many had forsaken Christ at the end of His life – even a close friend such as Peter.
This message, without a doubt, is difficult for people to accept because our natural human way has always been to serve ourselves first before anyone else, including God. We love that salvation is free because we get the reward – and this is a marvellous testimony to God’s grace –but we hate the message that we have to take up our cross and follow Him. We hate this because we hate sacrificing any of our wants and needs for someone else. Not true? But the cross asks us to sacrifice our whole lives – every part of who you are. Taking up your cross means letting all of your desires die – all of your wants and needs – allowing Him to become your only desire. This is easy to say, but in reality we hate when things are hard and serving starts feeling like a sacrifice. Very few Christians have a testimony of picking up their cross though many have a beautiful testimony of accepting Christ. But there is so much more!
If only we would be able to truly turn our eyes away from what we expect to gain on this earth to the great reward that is meant for the afterlife, then this task, no this lifestyle, would become so much more appealing to us. To die to one’s own pleasures and need is a beautiful thing. Let us live in this world as aliens, knowing that our real home is waiting. Let us sacrifice on earth for our heavenly reward and not only for what we expect to gain in this life. It is for Christ and His glory. Let us not waste our time while we still have it.
Written by Christoff Bell