I Don’t Know If I’ll Live Or Die, But As Long As I Live I’ll Live For Jesus!
Something Worth Living And Dying For
About two years ago, when we were facing one crazy circumstance after another and living in Rio de Janeiro, I sometimes could relate to what Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NIV) We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…
One night I started singing “I don’t know if I’ll live or die, but as long as I live I’ll live for Jesus.”
Sometimes life is tough. The pressure, even not knowing if we will survive, brings things into focus. This life is short. Am I going to waste it or will I live for a purpose? The human soul longs for a purpose, something worth living and dying for, and that purpose is found by partnering with the cause of Christ and his redemptive work.
You Must Lose Your Life To Find It!
Matthew 16:21-26 (NIV) From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
A life of faith is a life of courage. Those who live in fear, trying to preserve their lives, will find that they’ve wasted their lives. But those who lose their lives for a cause worth living and dying for, are those who find a life worth living.
If you’ve been around and reading my blog for very long, you know that I am a proponent of victorious eschatology. I believe God’s kingdom and peace is constantly expanding and I reject the notion that the world is always getting worse.
However, there is still a cost to following Christ. There are still many Christians in the world today who are facing severe persecution, being beaten, imprisoned, and having their property seized. And we still need to count the cost of living for Christ. Are we willing to lose everything but find our lives in Jesus?
Luke 14:25-33 (NIV) Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
I’ve read the stories of Christians facing imprisonment and torture for their faith. It’s not easy to consider, “Am I committed to Jesus if it comes to that?” I feel like I don’t know if I could stand through what some of those people went through, but I have decided “Jesus, I want to follow you in everything. Help me! I commit myself to your grace.” Although it’s not always easy, a life lived for Jesus is a life worth living, and in the end, the sufferings we face are light and momentary in comparison to the glory revealed. Our attitude in the face of sufferings reveals our faith in Jesus’s resurrection.
Open Up Every Nook And Cranny Of Your Heart And Soul To The Spirit Of Christ!
I’ve listened to this song again and again over the last two years. It has often moved my heart, moved me to tears, and I’ve felt God’s glory come on me with tangible power. Tell Jesus “I’m giving you everything again!” It feels so good to give Jesus everything again!
This isn’t about being a “strong Christian” by your own willpower. It is about moving forward with Christ, even after you fail or lose focus, refusing to live in the past or waste time with guilt and condemnation and deciding “I’m going on with Jesus.” Even when you feel weak, invite the Holy Spirit to influence you, to correct you, to work in your life, to change what needs to be changed, to make you willing and strong where you are not, to come in and invade every nook and cranny of your soul until it is permeated with the spirit of Christ. “Jesus, I open every room in my heart to you!” Believe me, God is patient, and even if you fail many times, keep opening up your heart to the Holy Spirit and inviting his influence, and he will keep working in your life! God is able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine by his power that’s at work in you!
We find our lives when we lay them down, and this is also what sets us totally free from fear. In our next post, we’ll talk about total freedom from fear.