Wouldn’t it be nice if following Jesus meant we no longer experienced any effects of the curse? Our mission would remain — spread the truth of Christ to all nations — but we wouldn’t be tempted to sin, our bodies wouldn’t struggle against disease created from the fall of man, and our mindset would always remain fixed on our eternal home. What a wonderful life it would be while we waited for Christ’s return!
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to rid ourselves completely from the effects of sin until Jesus comes back to end this war once and for all. But despite the curse of sin, there are many who have pretty wonderful lives. Whether they choose to have a joyful outlook on life or their circumstances make it easier to smile each day, there are Christians who love their lives without shame.
Maybe you could describe your life as wonderful. You haven’t been imprisoned for your faith, you don’t have to wonder where your next meal will come from, you have a family who loves Jesus as much as you do, or your college education has secured you the job where you’re thriving. Sure, nothing’s perfect, but for living in a cursed world, you truly love your life. And you wonder if that’s OK.
The cost of following Jesus
Aren’t we supposed to live a radical life for Jesus? And doesn’t radical mean we give all we have to the poor, go on every mission trip available to us, not care for earthly possessions and spend all our free time reading the Bible or in church?
OK, yes, those are extreme examples. But for some reason, the “radical” Christians and the lies we tell ourselves have created a mindset that whispers to us every time we enjoy something in this life. They tell us we’re selfish because of the things we own. They tell us we’re too comfortable in our home. And they tell us if we go on a family vacation instead of a mission trip, we are forsaking our Christian calling.
Jesus does tell us we need to carry our cross and give up everything to follow Him. But in context, He is telling us He needs to come before all else in our lives. We cannot serve our earthly possessions and Him, and we need to hold everything we have on this earth with an open hand, knowing nothing actually belongs to us, but God.
Maybe God is calling your neighbor to downsize or give more than half their paycheck to a mission organization. But that doesn’t mean God is calling every single Christian to do the same. What He asks of us is to count the cost of following Him and ready our hearts to leave everything behind if that’s what He asks of us.
So I can love my life?
We can’t begin to fathom the how and why behind all that God does. But one thing is sure: He blesses His children.
If you are placing anything in your life before Christ, by all means do whatever necessary to remove that as your idol. But don’t feel guilty for what you have, for wanting to spend time with your family or for cherishing moments with your spouse. Those are reasons to glorify God and find joy in how He has blessed you.
There may be people who would tell you having riches is sinful and not leaving your family behind to serve the poor is selfish. But what if God placed you exactly where He wanted you? What if your ordinary, American life is actually precisely how God wants to use you to expand His kingdom?
Please understand this is not advocating ignoring the lives of others or hoarding your blessings. There are those who struggle each day, whether they live two streets to your left or two countries to your left. There are organizations that could use your free time and churches that could use your service. Understand this is simply the idea that you don’t need to live in guilt for loving the life God has given you.
Counting it all joy doesn’t just mean when things are going poorly. We can count it all joy when God has blessed us with earthly possessions, good health and a wonderful job. Nothing comes free, however, and the trial with this would be to continue holding this life loosely and not loving it to the point of fearing anything different. We must remember our hope is in Christ, knowing heaven awaits us and what we have now will pass away in the blink of an eye. Eternal life with Jesus will be ultimate, inexplicable joy.
So continue loving your life, remembering how temporary it is and how our lives are gifts from God. Find joy in all circumstances while keeping an open heart to how you can use what you have to glorify God. Tell others why you love life: You are saved by grace, and God has blessed you beyond what you expected.
And feel no guilt for what God has given you. For it’s a wonderful life when Christ is your Savior.
Let’s Talk About It: How can you get rid of guilt for loving life while at the same time living fully for God?