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Chapter 12 - How important is life
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? - Matthew 16:26
It is difficult to think of a single possession valued more highly than life. People will fight, even kill, or impoverish themselves to preserve it. However, Christians are shown that we should not be overly concerned with it.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. - Matthew 16:25
The life Christians find in Jesus is eternal life. This is life that cannot be lost.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 6:23
One of the main tactics of Satan is to deceive us into thinking we should try to control things that we really cannot control. He has suggested we attempt to control the climate, government, and other people. With such ambitious undertaking, it is understandable to see that some come to think they can control even their life. We should not forget much less attempt to usurp the authority of God.
The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. - 1 Samuel 2:6
Our flesh recognizes that death is the end of sensation and seeks actively to avoid it. The Christian knows that this life is transient and that a far better one awaits.
If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference [I cannot choose], But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; But to remain in my body is more needful and essential for your sake. - Philippians 1:22-24 AMP
If the only thing that mattered to God was our salvation, then as soon as a person became a Christian he would die. It would be cruel to leave a redeemed person in a sinful world. The reason Christians continue in this physical life is to minister to others in the work of the Lord.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. - Revelation 12:10-11
The Christian who can consider his own death with the same wistful detachment Paul did in his letter to the Philippians has achieved a major step towards dying to self.
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