“I love that so much I would die for it!”
We’ve all said this or something similar, usually in reference to an object or possession we wish we could purchase. It’s not used literally, but it reveals that we can value and love something so much that we would sacrifice for it.
And the truth is we do sacrifice for what we love. We sacrifice for our friends and family because we love them, we sacrifice for charities usually because we love their cause or love someone personally in the midst of it. We sacrifice for our political views, sometimes sacrificing those same friends in the process…
This same thing occurs with eternal life given in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus says that if we would have Him as Lord and Savior we should be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him.
You can’t have God and still be god
We would all like to maintain control over our lives and add faith as an accessory that doesn’t interfere. The Christian faith is not like this. It’s a faith built on the belief that Jesus, fully God, took on flesh and lived the perfect life that was demanded of us and then chose to die the death that was due us in punishment for our sins. But death didn’t hold Him and He rose again.
We want that resurrection victory without dying to our way of life to obtain it. In Romans our faith is said to be illustrated through baptism, that we unite with Christ in His death and His resurrection when we are publicly baptized.
Placing faith in Christ is letting go of control over your life. You are no longer the defined of how life should be, but God becomes the defined of life. This means a death to self-guided living and life to Christ-guided living.
When we begin to see the gospel as glorious and most lovely, we begin to die to our selfish ways and be conformed to the ways of Christ. Only through gospel enjoyment, loving Jesus most, will death to our self-focused, self-exalting ways happen.
You will die for what you love.
John 3:16 is the most well known verse thanks to sports but it proclaims that God so loved the world that He sent Christ to die for us so that through faith we might have eternal life. In Hebrews 12, it describes Jesus enduring the cross for the joy set before Him in sitting at God’s right hand in heaven.
Jesus loved His Father to the point that He died to His own will and He loved the world so much that He saw the Father’s will as perfect.
He died for what He loved. What a beautiful gospel.
A continual dying and a continual living
Now the Christian experiencing this weird mix of dying continually to an old way of life that was self-guided seeking self-satisfaction and through these deaths finding a self-less joyful lifein Christ.
This denying of ourselves is only sustained by gospel enjoyment. We need to be enlightened to see God’s ways and His truth as more glorious than our own.
You will die or sacrifice for what you love, whether that is yourself, others or God, but Jesus is the only never ending satisfying joy worth dying for.