“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
Luke 9:23-26 NKJV
The desire for self protection is hardwired into the psyche of the human soul. We are equipped with a fight or flight impulse from birth, and it is very hard to overcome. Most of us, when facing dire odds and danger, would have the desire to run away and be safe, coming to the conclusion that it is better to escape than die.
Even in the Bible, there have been those who have chosen to escape. Often, though, it is by the urging of others that they flee. The faith that we who are the followers of Jesus hold dear is built upon of the foundation of the lives of many who have gone before us, putting aside the danger, who have stood firm. They were people who did not count their lives dear.
“Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”
Hebrews 11:35-38 NKJV
Our leader, Jesus, did not hold HIs life dear, as He pressed on against daily mocking and threats, to fulfill His mission. He is our example.
The events unfolding in Ukraine are offering yet another example of someone who is not holding his life dear, who is willing to press on, even though he knows that there are those who seek his death.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the president of Ukraine, and unlikely leader raised up for such as a time as this to lead his country. He was a comedian and actor before being elected, and I am sure that he had no idea that the eyes of the world would be on him, and that his actions would be etched in history.
The enemy is pressing in on the capital Kyiv, and no one would be shocked if he fled and led from exile. The United States stands ready to evacuate he and his family. Instead, he is one who does not hold his life dear.
Brothers and sisters, let us learn from this example. The enemy of our souls is pressing in and desires to destroy us. Let us not count our lives dear, forsaking fear, and standing by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the pressure of the evil one, it is easy to give in to the temptations. We might hide our faith, and not tell others, hoping to hide under the radar, or we might yield to our urges, allowing sin to reign in our mortal bodies, that we not stand out from the world. But we must remember that we are not our own.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV
William Whiting Borden, heir to the Borden fortune, desired to be a missionary to China. He went through all the preparations, but became ill before he could go to the field, dying in Egypt.
It is said, according to an oft-repeated anecdote, following Borden’s death, his mother found in his Bible the words “No Reserve” and a date suggesting it had been written shortly after he had renounced his fortune in favor of missions. Later he was said to have written “No Retreat,” after his father supposedly told him that he would never hold a position in the family business. Finally, shortly before he died in Egypt, he is supposed to have added the phrase “No Regrets.”
Let us be willing to give our all, regardless of whether there is no reserve, let us serve, let us not retreat in the face of stiff adversity, and let us have no regrets, because we can say with confidence that the work that we do for the Lord will result in the furtherance of the Gospel. May our greatest desire be to hear well done, good and faithful servant.
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