Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” —Mark 8:34-37 NLT (emphasis mine)
It’s Memorial Day here in the United States. A day we set apart to honor the brave men and women who have fought and died in various battles on behalf of our nation. It began as a day to remember our fallen dead after the Civil War. That was a brutal conflict, pitting families against one another and raging on with massive destruction over four long years. More than 600,000 soldiers died. Imagine! Each one had a story. A family. A life cut short. Since then, our nation’s soldiers have fought in many other wars. With many more deaths. Taking time out to remember makes a statement that their lives mattered. We honor those who fought for causes they believed to be more important than their own health and well-being. And we marvel at their often-heroic choices. Not every cause was a noble one, of course. But on Memorial Day, we don’t argue. We simply remember those who fell and the families they left behind.
All of us make choices about our lives. Some of us are risk-takers and bungee jump off cliffs and swim in dangerous waters. Others of us prefer to stay home and sip tea. But one choice overshadows all others. What are we doing with our souls? Are we preparing for the life that follows death? Most people don’t spend much time thinking about that. They just live their lives and try to enjoy themselves as best they can. However … every single one of us will face a moment when the reality of death hits. We will die. Are we simply a physical body? Even the fact that we can be reading and understanding these words tells us we are something more. Something that defines our essence. And … if we are indeed spiritual and not just physical, what happens to our spiritual self when we die?
Jesus was pretty much up front about this. We are body and soul. There is a life after death. He came from Heaven and returned to Heaven and will come again. And we have an invitation to join Him in a blissful eternity. But there is a cost. We must turn from living blindly without regard for the One who made us; give up control of our own lives (and let’s face it—we do a really bad job of ordering our own lives most of the time anyway); hand over the controls to the One who sees the future and knows what is best. Ironically, the way to gain eternal life is to live sacrificially, like soldiers in battle, willing to lose our lives here on earth.
The life we live here is fraught with uncertainties. We are truly not in control. Trees fall on houses. Tornadoes pick up cars and toss them like toys. Deranged shooters randomly kill people in grocery stores. Disease flattens even those of us who strive to live a healthy life. We can’t determine the day of our death or prevent it.
The only thing that makes sense is to let go of what we cannot control—life here on earth in pretty fragile and unpredictable bodies. And instead, steward our souls by turning them over to the Creator who has promised to nurture us forever, long after our physical bodies have turned back to the dust from which the original man came. We let go of all the stuff that has never fully satisfied us anyway and instead receive God’s gift of eternal life purchased for us by Jesus’ death on the cross. We turn our eyes away from our own self and toward kingdom living with a real and genuine King in charge. And we follow Him.
I choose to lose my life here and follow the One who has promised me that when my time comes to die, my soul will slip away from a failing body and be clothed in a new and immortal body. I choose to lose my life here, letting go of my own ways and desires, knowing that the One I follow loves me so much He fashioned my DNA uniquely and then came to die for me so I could live with Him forever. Seriously. What an amazing gift from God! And think about it …
Is anything worth more than your soul?
Father, how thankful I am that I can turn to You and release control knowing You are good and Your plans for me are good. I trust You. I love You. I want You in charge of my life now and forever. My soul is Yours. And I am safe with You. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrificial death and Your victory over sin and death. I worship You today. In Your Name, Jesus—Most High King—Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
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