STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
SERIES 3: Pried Out With A Cross
The Pride of Self-Preservation
“I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself” Acts 20:24
What dominates your thinking: the things that you hope your life will be saved from or the things that you hope your life will be sacrificed for? Are you preoccupied by the preservation of your life from sacrifices or by the presentation of your life as a sacrifice?
It all depends on how you see your life. There are two ways in which you can become so preoccupied with the value of your own life that it becomes harmful to you. The first way is by believing that your being alive is of greater value than anything else, which inevitably leads to a posture of self-preservation at all costs. Those who take this path end up paying a cost that is greater than the particular kind of death they fear. Thinking that there is only one form of death and that it must be avoided at all costs, they end up suffering worse forms of death that were never even on their radar.
The second kind of preoccupation with the value of your own life is believing that your being alive is of no value to anyone, which inevitably leads to a posture of self-neglect or self-destruction. Those who take this path end up paying a cost that is greater than the particular kind of worthless life they think theirs is. Thinking that your life is a worthless piece of trash is the first step in a series of choices by which you yourself end up treating and allowing others to treat your life as a worthless piece of trash.
But there is a third way. It involves fully giving up you life’s temporary value to you in order to fully give your life as an offering of infinite value to God. Once you’ve done that, you can neither speak and act like your life is what matters most to you, which is the path of cowardice, nor can you speak and act like your life does not matter at all, which is the path of suicide. The coward saves his own life even if it means losing the things that give that life meaning, while the suicide forfeits his life because he has lost sight of the things that give that life meaning.
Jesus’ third way saves us from the futile desire that drives us to save our lives as well as from the fatal despair that drives us to forfeit our lives. He shows us that real freedom is realizing that while being alive is sometimes pleasant and sometimes painful, neither our enjoyment of the pleasure of the one nor our escape from the pain of the other is the main point of having life. The point of having life is to find someone of more infinite value than your life to give yours to.
Keep the Faith