Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18 - Profit and Loss

Today's Reading: 
Nahum 1:1-3:19 
Mark 8:11-38 
Proverbs 26:23-27:4
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Focus Verses:

Mark 8:34-38 
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." 

What would I be willing to trade for my life? Jesus says that following him requires denying myself, but it’s a self-denial that will result in finding true life. There is a way to put myself in first place and end up with nothing. There is a way to deny myself that results in great blessing.

The path to real personal gain looks like loss from a worldly point of view. Giving my best time and energy to gain money, success, security, status and possessions is really the road to loss. Putting Christ first, following in his footsteps, and heeding his commands might look like loss from an earthly perspective, but it actually results in attaining the richest and most satisfying life possible.

Response and Action:
I need to put Christ Jesus first, to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Seeking and knowing Jesus must be my highest priority. Following his example and valuing the things he values is the substance of faith. If I truly believe in Jesus, I must entrust my life to him and give up ownership of myself. If he is truly my Lord, I must deny every rival to his authority. The more I do this, the more I will experience and understand that this "loss" is actually great gain.

O God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Give me the wisdom and the will to put Jesus first. Give me eyes to see the great benefit of seeking him first. Give me eyes to see the emptiness and loss of materialism and self-gratification. Help me delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your name. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Matthew 6:33
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The Divine Conspiracy
by Dallas Willard

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