“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
Mark 8:34-36 NIV
Cancer. I had suspected that this word was going to come out of the specialists mouth. Still it hit emotionally. Leaving the doctor and walking down the street I was in a mental fog. Thoughts of loved ones filling my head, "how to tell them?", then the wave of sad and morose thoughts, and finally the prayers, "God give my wife and I the strength..."
The next wave of emotion came and stuck pretty strong with me. It was the will to fight. The desire to live. It is so instinctive, so basic and primal, so fundamental that it surprised me. It didn't have to be ginned up, or wound up. It was just a Primal Instinct.
As I was reading the Word this morning, it came to me that what Jesus demands of his followers is a denial of this most primal instinct. We must live our lives in such a way that denies the instinct of life and surrenders the heart to the will of God. Choosing to lose my life for Christ and living a yielded life is not morose or depressing. It actually can be freeing. Suddenly, I can come to see what really matters in the long run. It gives a sense of divine perspective. Jesus taught his disciples to live out the invitation to the gospel. That whatever battles they might fight inside themselves, this battle to preach to all an invitation to the kingdom of God was the greatest battle. It might require abandoning the amassing of wealth, the investment of self in every other seemingly good thing. It really demands we live out that "Seek first the kingdom of God..." Verse. It is an abandonment to the gospel.
Today I am fighting a battle for survival. It isn't easy. Battles are messy, sweaty, smelly things. But it still remains that my highest call is to deny my instinct for survival, and preach the Word when I can.