"And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die." -Rev. 12
I'm taking a class right now called "Quest for Meaning: Christ and the Good Life."
Christ and the Good Life. What does that even mean?
In class, we were critiquing the all too popular view of Jesus as sweet, innocent, pitiful man holding a sheep and playing with puppies (alright... so I haven't seen too many portrayals of Jesus with puppies, but you get the picture). Our teacher then brought up the title of the class... do we really believe that a life with Jesus is "the good life"? One of my fellow classmates said, "How do we define good?"
I have been considering this for a while. The Lord, while He works all things together for His good, does not call us to have the "good life."
I realize this is a little scattered, so stick with me.
I have found myself clinging to the world lately. I love my life, I love my friends, I love my family (I love my hair, I LOVE MY WHOLE HOUSE!), and I just simply love this world. For a while, I felt pretty guilty about that. I kept telling myself "Self... don't get too attached to this world. Your spirit is not of this world, and it's not your home!" I get particularly attached to the world around Christmastime. It really is the most wonderful time of the year and I have found myself becoming so in love with it. At one point in time, I was asking myself why I could love something that is so commercial, materialistic, and quite often, very selfish. This is what the Lord told me: "The message of Christmas is Mine. All good and perfect gifts come from Me, so when you love things about this life, if your heart is after my heart, they are often small indicators of My ever-present Love and my infusion in this world." At the same time, I know that I cannot love my life so much that I am unwilling to give it up.
I don't believe that everyone is called to die for the cause of Christ. I do believe that we are all called to be willing to. And sometimes, that means that we are called to be willing to give up the materialism of our life. We are called to surrender our "right" to "the good life."
I'm still processing the concept of suffering in Christ and His followers, past and present. So there is likely more to come on that subject. But what greater pride is there? That we would be so wrapped up in our own lives that we are unwilling to surrender, to sacrifice.