Protecting me (Matthew 16:24-26)

I am reminded again of a sad reality: We can use Christianity to justify and validate our self-centered existence. We can use it to excuse immorality, pride, hate, anger, bitterness, greed, and the list goes on.

However, I am also reminded that to do so does not fool God. It doesn’t even fool those around us.

When we use our professed faith to look at ourselves, meet our needs, protect our territory, claim our rights, build our success and comfort, and feel better about our shortcomings, we weaken its power and purity, as well as its effectiveness. It may look palatable and reasonable to us, but not for others. I assure you, it doesn’t hint of righteousness to God.

Mat 16:24-26: “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’”

The truth of this verse: Any time I am not looking at Jesus, I tend to err. When I look to myself, I err. When I look at others and click my tongue, I err.

This life is not about me. It’s about Him, the one who supplies the strength for me to “deny myself.” He is the one who supplies the strength for me to take up my “cross”, my means of self-death. He gives me the energy to follow Him through life and bravely into death.

When I look to my life, seeking to protect me, I die the wrong way. When I trust Him fully with my life in all situations, I die to self, but live in the right, joyful, peaceful way.

What profit do I have protecting me anyway? None. When I protect me, I lose part of my own soul. When I trust it to Him, He keeps it all in an eternal way.

Father, I want to live with complete abandon to your way and your will, dying to my ideas and ideals, but truly living. Help me to die so that I might live. Forgive me for focusing on trying to live, which causes death to come from me. Help me live in a way that looks courageous, but is, in fact, simply trusting in You, my life and security.


One-armed soldier….

Today, I posted Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” (ESV).

As I was getting ready for my day, I was thinking about the verse. My first image was, of course, of a little boy holding his daddy’s hand. Yet another image came to mind; that of a soldier entering the battle.

The almost absurd image of a soldier holding another’s hand while battling seemed out of the question. But in reality, that is what God is saying. Put verse 12 with verse 13 and you see the picture.

“You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'”

Not too long ago, a church member came to me and said, “Bro. Tim, don’t fight, just stand. God has called you to just stand.”

Now I understand what she was saying. I don’t have to worry about the enemy as long as I stand by my Captain and hold His hand. Praise His wonderful name!