Thursday, May 8, 2008

gains and losses

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? --Lk 9:25

Good question. In my debate, and even in life, I so often lose sight of what I'm striving for. Generally, I'm pretty decent at gaining the world. I don't have too much trouble living at peace with everyone, as far as it depends on me. Recently, we've been gaining lots of wins in our debate too. But how much does this kind of stuff really matter? I'm feeling pressures (mostly self-inflicted) to do awesome at Nats. Really though... even if we won Nats in 2008, who's going to remember by 2010? LOL. Life in itself is so fruitless.

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. --Ecc 11:8
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. --1 Tim 6:7

So, it's not that much good to gain the world, but not that bad either. However, beware gaining the world and consequently losing your soul! As a saved Christian, I'm not too worried about "forfeiting my soul," but that misses the point. Since I have a new life in the Light, I don't want to slip into back into habits of darkness. Those sort of things are gone. Gaining the world is so useless if it harms my relationship with Christ. I mean He's really what matters and lasts, not the world!

What does this mean for me? To gain the world, I tend to:
  • Seek the praise of men. Instead, I have to work to please God, not to earn the praise of men, as nice as it is. But that kind of recognition doesn't last, fuels pride, and preempts rewards in heaven. Any praise I may get goes directly to God. It's all His anyway, because He makes things happen. (Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. --Eph 6:7 and In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. --Matt 5:16)
  • Look out for my wants and interests as the highest priority. However, I need to put God first. And that means serving Him and others. This is so incredibly hard for me to do and it is so incredibly easy to serve myself. (Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. --Eph 4:2 and Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. --Gal 6:2)
  • Try to be like the world. Oh! This is so far from what I should be doing! Paul calls me an alien to this world. I am in the world, but I cannot be of it. The word advocates all sorts of sinful things that I have thrown away. By being part of the world, I'm basically agreeing with all those things. (Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. -- 1 John 2:15, 16 and You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? --1 Cor 3:3)
Doing these things may get me far in the world, but I really don't think it's worth it. The world and it's logic make sense, to some extent.
  • How can you know if you're being successful? If you are praised.
  • How can I be happy? By doing what I want.
  • How can I fit in? Be like everybody else.
Unfortunately, the world gets it all wrong.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. --Col 3:1 - 4

So back to what this whole post was about. I want to gain. There are many things in life I want, more than maybe you'd imagine. I'm not all that competitive, but how I want to win! I've planned out things that I think would make my life awesome, like winning some rounds at Nats. I'm entering a contest about civics and I hope to do well in that too. Last year, I took 2nd place in my VFW essay contest. This year I want first. I imagine that with some hard work, all things are possible. See how the world influences me? With God, all things are possible! I struggle with my desires to gain. But how much will this cost me?! Do I want to lose the inheritance I already have?! These are selfish desires which hereforth are washed down the drain!

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. --Phil 3:7, 8
{and hope does not put us to shame}