Friday, January 15, 2021
The question has been asked many times. “For what are you willing to die?” With brave hearts, many are willing to die for freedom. Others put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of ideologies. Still others, maybe most of us, would put our lives in danger to protect our possessions. Most, if not all of us, are willing to die for our rights.
I see a common theme in all these scenarios. Each person is motivated to be willing to die by what they love. And what we love is far too often determined by what they believe will benefit us the most. The willingness to die for any reason can easily become an outworking of selfishness.
I know, that sounds cynical. But an honest examination of our hearts and minds may reveal that our priorities and preferences are most often dictated by the premise that it must benefit us. Rarely does anyone die because they wholeheartedly saw the need of others ahead of their own. The Apostle Paul said it this way in Romans 5:7. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.” I believe that soldiers and officers of the law give us perhaps the best present-day example of sacrificial service to the point of death.
As Jesus spoke to the crowds in John chapter ten He showed us the proper motivation for being to die – loving obedience to God. Three times Jesus mentions that He is willing to lay down His life for the sheep.
John 10:15-18 “…just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
And yet, dying for the sake of Christ is a possibility avoided by most followers of Christ. Why would we consider dying for our faith when we avoid even a little suffering for our faith? Our priority seems to be the preservation of life, not the sacrifice of it. We diligently seek the comforts of convenience and compromise, hoping to avoid being noticed and singled out as a radical believer in Jesus. We hide the Gospel message of man’s sin and need of a Savior behind a curtain of self-worth and inner empowerment. We avoid talking about or even taking personal responsibility for wrong because we believe the Satanic lie that it would be judgmental. Could it be that we love personal comfort more than we love Jesus?
My friends, this may sound harsh, but the reality is that we are willing to sacrifice self for a lot of personal reasons, but we avoid sacrificing self for the One who sacrificed Himself for us. May the Lord Jesus forgive us as we repent. May our lives begin right now to reflect the willingness to die for Christ.