Death is Gain in this Life

“Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying.”

Dr. Joseph Tson was the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Oradea, Romania, during the years of intense communist oppression. On several occasions he was arrested and subjected to long periods of brutal interrogation. During an interrogation in Ploiesti, he was threatened with death if he did not cooperate with the authorities. He replied with the statement, “Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying.” He told his captors that his sermons had been recorded on cassette tapes and that he had written tracts to encourage his fellow Christians. He said if he were to be executed, people would know he truly believed what he had said and had been willing to die for those beliefs.

Each day I wake up with a question that I heard from Francis Chan a few years ago: “Do I really believe that what I say I believe is really real?” Though I may not like to think about it, the implications of failing to actually believe what I say I believe are massive. In reality, every choice I make is based on what I actually believe and not necessarily on what I say I believe. This challenge from Chan has been a life altering one.

So what is the cost of true discipleship? What is the cost of obedience to God? Is there such a thing as Christianity without cost? Am I living my life to “save” it, or to “lose” it?

John 12:24-25 states: “Truly truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

But what does that mean for our lives practically? I believe that most Christians would be willing to die for Jesus if it came to that, but the more important question from John 12:24-25 for those of us who aren’t facing death for our faith is whether or not we’re willing to die to our selfish and sinful desires.

Stop and think about how this would affect our day-to-day lives. For the single person it would mean treating people of the opposite sex with dignity and respect and not seeking your own selfish pleasure. For the married person it would mean loving God and your spouse more than yourself or your plans and desires. For everyone it means going to the workplace and living with complete and perfect integrity, like Job (Job 1:1).

Laying OUR agendas at the foot of the cross means realizing that each day we wake up is not just another boring day — it’s a gift of God to be alive and a day on mission for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every moment of every day is a chance to glorify God. Whether we are at school, at home, at work, on a sports field, in a relationship, wherever. We are always on mission.

Sure, people are “called” to different arenas and not all called to hold offices in the church, but we are all called to full-time ministry (Matthew 28:19-20). Every day a Christian is to be on mission. Then and only then will we find true satisfaction in our daily lives. As John Piper states: “Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing–not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends–is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God.”

I’ll be honest–these are thoughts and questions that are rattling in my head and heart on a regular basis. Have I “made it” completely and perfectly in every moment of my life yet? No way–but my desire and passionate prayer is that I live with the kind of focus and intentionality that glorifies Him in every moment. Can you imagine if believers rose up to this challenge and lived with this kind of intentionality on an individual and corporate level? True change would occur in our own personal lives and in the lives of others because the Holy Spirit would have true freedom to roam in our hearts and lives without restriction.

My greatest weapon in this world is dying — dying to myself and my sinful and selfish desires.


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