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Written by Jim Jordal   
Friday, 15 May 2015

FINDING YOUR TRUE LIFE

By Jim Jordal

“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:39

Some Christians apply this Bible verse mainly to martyrs and those being directly persecuted for their Christian faith. They may lose their physical lives, but find themselves rewarded with new life in heaven. And there is certainly much current application to those Middle East Christians now being executed by radical Islamic terrorists.

But there’s another application more fitting to those of us who don’t risk loss of physical life for our faith, but who now face an even more insidious threat associated with life in advanced, materialistic societies. The threat today is less concerned with personal martyrdom than with being overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life. We daily face difficult choices about consuming amid the avalanche of goods and services touted by the media as the sources of the “good” life.

Jesus said, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses" (Luke 12:15 WEB).  In this respect the eternal truths taught and modeled by Jesus directly refute the so-called wisdom of the modern world. Covetousness, whether for wealth, possessions, power, influence, or popularity leads almost invariably to disaster because human beings were not intended to live in this manner.

Scripture contains scores of references on the evils involved in seeking wealth---from disrespecting of parents to actual murder in search of money or power. Perhaps the best known of these references in I Tim. 6:10, where the apostle Paul warns that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” If we eliminated the hyperbole about “all evil,” we still can understand that the unethical and unreasonable search for money sets the stage for many other evils.

To lose your life for Jesus’ sake may mean your actual life, as in some places today, but in America and the West it usually relates to losing the insidious attraction of accumulating and wrongfully using wealth, possessions, and power. It’s a struggle that’s difficult to win because our faulty definition of what constitutes success often centers on ostentation and conspicuous consumption.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy. The patriarch Abraham was wealthy, yet he entered the pantheon of God’s heroes because he obeyed God rather than worship his riches. So were many heroes of the well-known “faith” chapter of Hebrews, like Moses, of whom Scripture says: “By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God's people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward (Heb. 11:24-26 WEB).

Moses could have participated at the apex of wealth and power in Egypt. Instead he chose persecution and danger with the people of God rather than the false gods of Egyptian treasure and power. If you read the rest of chapter 11 you’ll find that the biblical principle of obedient faith overcoming physical and spiritual threat still lives as people of faith find the substance of true life and the evidence of things they cannot as yet see or even perceive.

 Because they rejected the worldly values surrounding them in favor of a profound faith that God would do as he said, they conquered enemies, saw the dead raised to life, welcomed persecution and martyrdom, and found true life as they rejected the empty lives offered by the world. 

That’s also our choice today. We can live out our lives seeking the baubles of possessions, influence, and high position; or we can seek the values evidenced by the heroes of the faith recorded in the Book of Hebrews. It’s our choice.