only help my unbelief

Do I need to live?
April 14, 2008, 1:04 am
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A few weeks ago while running I was listening to the song “All My Tears,” originally by Emmy Lou Harris, but covered by Jars of Clay on their most recent album “Good Monsters.” I was struck by the lyrics:

When I go, don’t cry for me;
In my Father’s arms I’ll be.
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed, and I’ll be whole.
Sun and moon will be replaced
With the light of Jesus’ face,
And I will not be ashamed,
For my Savior knows my name.

It don’t matter where you bury me;
I’ll be home, and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay:
All my tears will be washed away.

I’ve been thinking about those lyrics a lot, about not being afraid to die. And then this morning, my pastor preached on Colossians 2:8:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

He went through some of the “traditions of men” that keep us from sanctification, and then he started talking about the elementary principles of the world. “Elementary” is the Greek word that connotes the basics, the ABCs, he said, and so in that verse God is referring to the things the world automatically assumes is right and true.

One of the elementary principles he mentioned was only having as many children as you think you can afford. He said that one of the primary reason for having only 2.5 children is economic, and, ultimately, selfish. That’s a topic for another day and another post, but the principle that hit me the most this morning was the following:

I have to live.

The world says living is the most important thing. You should step on people, manipulate and take advantage if it keeps you alive and improves your quality of life. But we don’t have to live our lives in such a way that our desire to live is first and foremost. In fact, we should live as though we are prepared to die at any moment.

I don’t live like that. I fear the opinions of men, even though on their worst days they wouldn’t kill me for the things I do or say that resemble Christ. And so I know that if the threat were death, apart from God I would never be able to act in such a way that might get me killed.

And so my prayer for this week is to not be taken captive by the principle that I have to live. I want to give up the whole world and gain my soul, that I might be more like Christ.

Don’t forget to taste and see that the Lord is good.