From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:19-26 NIV
Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.Proverbs 16:8 NIV
Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler! Proverbs 17:7 NIV
How do we lose our soul? By trying to live according to man’s dictates rather than living by The Word of God and obeying what we hear Him say to us.
When man thinks it is more important for people to listen to them, than to God, souls are at risk. Since I’ve never been one to try to please people, I try to make sure my soul–my soul–remains in position to be blessed by God, knowing where my eternity shall be spent. All is well with my soul!
Now, because of my love for God and the desire to please Him, what I do is often misinterpreted as being an act of disobedience by some who think they know more than God. I realize that God has given us all a gift–specifically–purposed by Him, for Him. Though I did not recognize the gift as a child when I was always the one trying to maintain peace among kids on the playground and in school, I do recognize it now. He has always used me to fight for the underdog–those who were not capable of speaking up for themselves or not willing to do so because of fear.
Looking back at the endeavors I’ve undertaken, I can see how I was being prepared for such a moment as this. I’ve always been a community activist–fighting for justice and equality for the oppressed. I’ve never had a lot of money, but what I had, I often used to help others in need and God has tremendously blessed my life. So, I know when I hear God speak to me and another–I will not hear. I will not be tempted by religious affiliation to steer others onto a path that is not of God.
When trying to choose between two job offers–one that paid more money and was fairly secure and the other that paid less and offered no job security, but involved defending the rights of poor people. I prayed and found in His Word the right path for me–taking the job that paid less, but enriched my life.
I’ve spent years volunteering my time and skills to help others who could not afford to pay for the services I rendered, but the joy of the Lord was kept alive in my heart by their gratitude, not their money.
As an educator–my purpose was to give those students I taught what they needed to succeed beyond the walls of a classroom and when I see some of them now, they let me know how much they appreciate me–pushing them to do their very best.
And now I understand more than ever how important it is to hear God for ourselves and obey what He’s telling us today. I am still an avenger for justice and though I lose the approval of man, I know I have the approval of God when I obey Him, rather than man.
Until the end comes–the end of life or the end of my ability to type–I will obey God because my soul is too important for me to heed the words of mere mortals over the voice of God. My soul belongs to Jesus and another will not cause me lose my place in eternity, simply to pacify another mere mortals with religious rhetoric.
Lord, I thank You for giving me another opportunity to glorify You in all I do. Forgive my reluctance to act even sooner, not obeying what I heard You say, out of concern for what others might think, because I didn’t understand, clearly. I will hear and obey–whether I understand it or not so people will not have to live under the dictates of fearmongers and hatemongers who pretend to know You, but don’t. And now I ask Your continued blessings and wisdom to be poured into all who desire to please You as we continue our journey to defend the rights of the poor, needy and oppressed.