LIFE VERSUS DEATH

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

 

OUR THEME FOR 2012

(Part 3)

 

LIFE VERSUS DEATH

 

February 23, 2012

 

Today’s readings:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Psalm 1:1-6

Luke 9:22-25

 

 

At the very start of Lent, right after Ash Wednesday yesterday, we are brought to our theme verses for the year. Lent is a time of choosing right over wrong, virtue over sin, God over the evil one. It is choosing life over death.

It is a very stark choice, with very clear and contrasting consequences.

 

Life

Death

Life and prosperity

Death and doom

A long life

Will not have a long life

Blessing

Curse

Like a tree planted near streams of water

Like chaff driven by the wind

Will never wither

Will not survive judgment

Way watched over by God

Way leads to ruin

Save one’s life

Lose one’s life

Gain the whole world

Forfeit himself

 

The above, to us, is not much of a choice. We obviously would choose life. But that is easier said or desired than actually done. There are conditions attached. We do not just choose, but we need to act on that choice, according to God’s precepts. If we do not, then even as we choose for life, we might be moving into death.

How do we need to act?

 

Life

Death

Obey commandments of God

Turn away and not listen

Love God and walk in His ways

Adore and serve other gods

Not follow counsel of wicked;

Not go the way of sinners;

Not sit in company with scoffers

The wicked;

Sinners in the assembly of the just

Study God’s law day and night

Scoffers

Lose life for Jesus’ sake

Wishes to save his life

 

The last aspect gives us the contradiction of the cross. We choose life because we wish to save our life and enjoy life to the full, but the way for that to happen is for us to lose our life, for the sake of Christ. This means that we deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23).

This is the way of Jesus, the One whom we follow. He suffered greatly, was rejected, and was killed (Lk 9:22). But on the third day he was raised. Loss became gain. Defeat became victory. Death became life.

 

God has set the choice before us. Choose life, but choose death to self. Look to prosperity, but live a life of simplicity. Choose blessing, but be willing to be cursed and maligned for the sake of Christ. Occupy the land, but forfeit yourself.

 

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