Will You Lay Down Your Life?

I was reading Oswald Chambers this morning and was fascinated by this observation… “Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him.” During the instruction time after the Last Supper, Jesus brings up the topic of his departure which prompted Peter to declare, “I will lay down my life for You” (John 13:37). Peter usually had an affinity for the dramatic and speaking up for the group (Mark 9:5, 10:28, 29, 14:47, John 18:10, Mark 11:21, Matthew 14:28, 15:15, 18:21, Luke 12:41), but I sense there is more here than just a willingness to die for Jesus.

We should be able to make that very same statement, because Jesus is still asking, “Will you lay down your life for Me?” (John 13:38). The point is that it is much easier to say we will die for Christ or for the sake of the gospel than it is to lay down our lives each and every day. I see a picture of surrender and submission to His will and authority. We must walk in the light in our everyday activities. He calls us not necessarily to die for Him but to live for Him.

For 33 years Jesus was on this earth and laid down His life to do the will of His Father. I see an interesting parallel in Scripture between John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16. The first mentions the passion, purpose and provision of the Father (He loved, gave and offers life). In the latter we have our Christian mandate, model and mission, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us, we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (we love, give to others, and lay down our lives). It is not easy because it is contrary to our human nature to do this.

We are selfish and self-preserving, but if we are friends of Jesus, we must deliberately and carefully lay down our lives for Him; love Him, learn of Him and live for Him. Salvation is easy for us, only because it cost God so much, but exhibiting salvation in our lives is quite difficult. It’s good that we don’t go through this life alone; we need His strength and have the Spirit to guide us. Involvement in a solid Christian community is also a wonderful benefit to living a meaningful life in the world.

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