Summary: Surrendering to God.
Series: It’s Backwards!
To Win Give Up
In our living room we are starting a project of investment for future growth which we believe will be very profitable. It begins with at properly amount of investment in a fertile market….. actually we are growing tomato plants in our family room. In little cups filled with dirt Leigh Anne and the kids put these really small seeds into the dark soil purchased at Lowe’s. A few days after planting a small green stem emerged from the dirt along with some small leaves. The process is not something that hasn’t been seen before – how a small seed somehow becomes a plant, yet it is still a mystery exactly how it can take the nutrients from the earth to reach upward toward the sun. During this time of teaching Jesus loved to take the simple things like the process of a growing plant to draw a line of comparison to the spiritual truths people struggled to understand. The God who made the physical earth also made the spiritual life, and understanding is found in application of the wisdom learned from what is seen.
This past 6 weeks have been focused on how the majority of the world lives one way and the truths of God call us out of that pattern to live in a new way. The image first given was two roads – one is a wide path which leads to destruction and the other a smaller and less obvious path which leads to life. The basic thrust of Biblical instruction is in this concept – that living for God means you will grow demonstrably different from most of the world you live in. Following him means you will end up in a place which is not normal in terms of what the general consensus finds. Hearing Jesus instruct is like someone going at it completely backwards – be a servant instead of being served. To be rich let go of your riches. To find rest take up the right burdens. These are not things which will naturally occur; they are only completed through thoughtfully prepared and regularly practiced people. If we quit concentrating on doing them then we will mindlessly find ourselves acting like the rest of the world and no difference will be evident in our walk with Christ. This is the point Jesus kept trying to make in his day and wants us to know in the modern era. We are not to be like everyone else, we are to appear different, original, and yes even supposed to seem backward in comparison to what the world considers progress. The one huge difference which should be obvious between God’s people and the rest of the world is the view of death. We should look forward to it.
I. A View of Life.
A. The Natural inclination is to cling to life not matter how much hope they have.
1. That is to say our body has certain responses to threats which we do not necessarily think about. Loud noises overhead often causes us to duck, heat from a fire drive us back before being injured any further.
*I was recently watching a rerun of the show called “Dirty Jobs,” with Mike Rowe – he travels across the country working with people to do some gritty work, this time he was helping a man harvest alligator eggs. It is dangerous because of the swamp, the fire ants, but most importantly the mama alligator watching the nest. Later when they were dealing with juvenile alligators, the owner of the farm instructed Mike that if the alligator bit his hand he should not immediately try to pull his hand out. Instead he should wait for one of the helpers to pry open the mouth of the animal because pulling his hand out would tear up his entire hand because of how the teeth of the animal are shaped. The natural reaction would be, pain, my life is in danger, get your hand out of there – but that would be the wrong reaction because it would cause more damage. Our mind sometimes has to override our natural inclination to preserve our life in order to limit the damage.
2. Survival is an instinct and one we are comfortable with because it will more than not keep us alive. But would we say that life is all about not dying? I do not think must of us wake up in the morning and say “Today I am in non-dying mode. I am going to come as close to dying as I possibly can today.”
*Sure there are thrill seekers and people who just don’t think things through who experiment with stuff that could kill them. But I would suggest that even those who say they want to push the limits don’t actually want to die they just want to feel the thrill of being close. Dying to them would end the fun and they don’t want to do that. Does anyone really want to die? Yes those in the agony of death want the suffering to end and some want to escape the troubles they see around them because they think that nothing beyond this earth could be as terrible as they currently are enduring. But if you give us something to hold on to we will grab it even if it might seem silly and hopeless to everyone sees our picture.