We live in a world where everyone wants to do what makes them feel good. As Christians, we know though that what makes us feel good isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. We also know that God calls us to be set apart from the ways of the world so that we may live an abundant life with Him. Even though God’s plan for our lives isn’t always easy to comprehend, we know that His plans are perfect. How though, can we come to have true life through Christ?In Mark 8:31-38, we read of a time when Jesus taught His disciples three very important lessons about living their lives for Him. In verse 31, Jesus tells His disciples that, even though He was God’s son, He would suffer, be rejected by many, be killed by those who opposed Him, and then three days later He would rise again. In verse 32, Peter pulls Jesus aside and tells Him not to say things like that. Jesus realized that Satan had a grasp on Peter and in verse 33 He sternly says to him, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Just like Peter did in verse 32, there are times when we try to tell God what He can and cannot do. We want Him to bless us but we don’t want to live for Him. We claim to love Him yet we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to direct us. And we limit our loyalty to Him for times only when we feel content. As humans, our comprehension is finite (or limited) and therefore God’s ways are far beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). The first lesson on living our lives for Christ is we must learn to accept God’s authority and let Him be in control (Psalm 46:10).
In verse 34, Jesus calls together His disciples and the crowd over to listen to Him. He tells them that whoever wants to be His follower must put aside their selfishness, pick up their cross, and follow Him. What does Jesus mean by this? Jesus is giving us a second lesson on living our lives for Him. He is telling us to be selfless. Jesus wants us to sacrifice what the world has to offer and show Him our undivided love by following Him.
In verse 35, Jesus gives us His third lesson on living our lives for Him. He goes on to tell the crowd and His disciples that those who try to keep their lives for themselves will lose their lives, but those who give up their lives for His Kingdom will find true life. Our lives are not our own, we were created by God for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). If we try to rule our life, even though it is not ours, we will for sure lose it, but if we give it to God so that He may use us in order to further His kingdom, He will give us true life. Indeed we must be slaves to Christ (Romans 1:1).
Are you putting importance on the things of this world? Are you storing your treasures here on earth or in Heaven (Matthew 6:20)? In verses 36 and 37, Jesus reminds His disciples that if they try to gain the whole world they will lose their souls in the process. We must not be ashamed of Christ or the Good News He brings (Romans 1:16). If we are, Jesus tells us in verse 38 that He will be ashamed of us when He returns. As you go throughout your day, meditate on the three lessons Jesus was teaching us on how to live our lives for Him. Remember that our time in this world is only temporary (2 Corinthians 5:1) and if you aren’t living for Christ, you need to get a life.