Thursday, August 1, 2013

Self preservation

Self preservation - a lot of our lives are devoted to it.

We build up careers to keep ourselves in plenty of money; we pursue things that will leave some mark on the world so that even when we are gone we preserve our memory; we protect our things, our space, our time jealously as if one lapse will have the world taking advantage of us.

All in all we spend a lot more time making sure we are alright, than we do making sure others are.

We'll help others, sure. But only if it doesn't take away too much of our lives. Only if it doesn't involve too much self-sacrifice.

I'll invite you round for dinner, ok, on a night I approve and hospitably feed you a nice meal - but don't get crazy on me and just drop round... and don't even think about being homeless and asking me for money while I'm trying to go about my day spending it on myself.

The problems and quarrels and animosity we hold towards others are largely directed at those who threaten our sense of self, our way of life, our attempts to preserve what we see as ours - from wars with another country to the person who ate the last biscuit we were saving for ourselves.

In this case, as is often the case, Jesus has a view that goes against the popular opinion. The world will tell you, look after yourself first. Hold on to what's yours, or someone else will take it. Build up a life for yourself, store up for yourself.

Jesus says:

If you try to hold on to your life, it will slip through your fingers; if you let go of your life, you’ll keep it.

Luke 17:33

And Jesus says that because he knows the time is near. He knows its urgent and we need to be alert.

There's no time to hang on to those things you can't take with you, because while you're turning around to gather your precious 'things', you've missed it. You've spent so much effort trying to protect who you think you should be, or who the world expects you to be, that you've missed who God really created you to be.

Try to save your own life - reach for that life preserver you created yourself - and you'll end up being destroyed along with it.

Focus on God, lay down your life, forget about your own self preservation, and it's your eternal life that will be saved.

What are you keeping close at hand to grab whenever you feel the need to protect yourself? Money? Pride? Anger? Excuses? Status? Appearance?

Lay these things down and realise the baggage-free freedom that comes from relying only on Christ.

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