Have you tried to live life in your own strength, on your own accomplishments? Have you succeeded? Have you failed? We live in a unique society and time in history when people who are willing to work actually have a shot at worldly success simply by means of skill and effort. Yes, nepotism still exists, and yes, many jobs and promotions are found by who you know, but the average Joe Shmoe does have some opportunity.
But even if you have achieved all of your earthly goals, are you satisfied? Are you fulfilled?
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
– 1 Cor 4.7
Everything that we have is from the Lord. The good, the bad and the ugly. The successes, the failures, the relationships and the loneliness. Even so, we regularly evaluate one another by our jobs, appearance, etiquette, possessions and social class. We forget so quickly that everything that exists on this Earth belongs to God, and He has asked us to be stewards of it and to love one another.
Scripture is clear that if we belong to God, He will do whatever it takes to achieve within us righteousness. That is why God often warns His people “watch out”, and gives consequences for specific sins. Everyone knows the old Proverb, “prides comes before the fall” (Prov 16.18). Most Christians also know the terrifying warnings of Hebrews that if we continue sinning after coming to understand the Gospel, there is no hope for us (Heb 6.4-6). Jesus also dynamically teaches that:
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
– Matt 16.25
What a dichotomy and difficult teaching: if you want to save your life, you have to loses it for the sake of Christ. If you try to save your life on your own strength, you will ultimately lose it. But you have to come to peace with losing it in Christ and for Christ in order to find it! We all want to save our lives, and that is the primary motivation in coming to Christ: we do not want to go to Hell and suffer the punishment for our sins! But we must mature beyond that point to loving Christ and giving up our lives for Him. If we do not, we will lose our lives, no doubt about it.
Martin Luther said it best from his momentary experience on Earth, and found it to be eternally true in his death:
“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
– Martin Luther
Place your life, your children, your finances, your job, your everything in Christ’s hands today. Because the reality is that He is in control and already has hold over it, and whatever you try to cling on to you will lose. It is all His. And do not boast in what you have, but use it to serve Him and the Church and to make much of Him.