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loving life / having to hate it for Jesus' sake

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by lutherangerman, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

    +132
    Lutheran
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    Today I had quite a bad experience.

    The thing is, normally I would say that loving life is a very good thing. It makes me glad to be here and with this joy I can bear the challenges of life much better and don't fall victim to any mental distress. Also, loving life connects me to other people, it's not like I become too happy through it, in a selfish sense. I also find that christian concerns like our concern about abortion and euthanasia fit into a larger scheme of our faith being a faith and a celebration of life, not a celebration of death. Jesus Himself said He would give us life as His gift to us.

    But today someone gave me this bible verse:

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

    I got really upset when I read that. It just seemed to say, God hates me being happy. That I must always be miserable and have only God as my joy. I can't bear this, it's unfair, and it's pointless. I can get the idea that I must love God MORE than anything or anyone else, even than my family. But not to be allowed to love life, that's just creepy.

    There was another biblical idea that in the past gave me similar problems, that we are supposed not to love the world. I eventually resolved this by discerning this sentence, that it means we shall not love the world of sin, yet that we can safely love the world of nature, the world of man (to an extent), the cosmos in general, our place.

    So I think this verse could work the same way. We shall hate the "life" of sin. Our flesh with the law of death in it that hinders us to fully bloom spiritually.

    I can't believe Jesus would really ask us to hate our lives, because that only leads to needless misery.

    How do you see this scripture? How do you think about loving life?

    I must add that loving life has been a literal life saver for me many times. It gave me peace. And I know life has many difficult things in it, like that we contract illness, that we age. But still I love life, it has poetry in it and meaning, and I believe God helps us in it. It's a masterpiece of God, both the black and the colored sides of it.
     
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  2. Life2Christ

    Life2Christ Guest

    +0
    I am not a fundamentalist so I do not take most of the bible literally. To me this verse is just another way of saying don't put your faith in the things of this world such as the materialism, the gossip of friends, the love of money, the greed, the nonsense that we are set up for. Jesus wants us to see the bigger picture: that there is a place better for us in Heaven and he wants us there. But God does not want a bunch of hooligans in Heaven but those who see the true meaning of life which is to worship God above all things and to love our fellow man. Look what is going on in London right now...God does not want that kind of nonsense in Heaven. Those rioters are loving their life.

    Also, there is plenty to hate about this life even if you are a good law abiding citizen. Disease, sickness, bankruptcy, adultery. There is a better way to live. Its just ain't here. We have to make do by keeping our focus on the Lord. Filtering out the bad.
     
  3. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

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    You don't think there is sense in loving a quiet poetic morning, a good meal, a good talk with your friends, a good movie, a good book, finding a decent job, etc? That's what love for life is about for me, I like life even though I have been sick for 10 years. 11 years ago I was really messed up and even tried to kill myself. I am glad for the love of life that I have found back. Yes I need God and Jesus but I don't want to think that love for life has no place in our faith. That would only drive me back into the deepest pits of my sickness.
     
  4. Blueforest

    Blueforest Created well and commanded to be sick

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    I agree with you - life is precious, a gift, and should, no, must be enjoyed.

    But the thing is, religion doesn't WANT you to enjoy your life. It wants you sick, defeated, miserable and unhappy. This is one of the primary reasons for me being branded a heretic and not finding this religion appealing to me.

    I like life.

    That, right there, puts an antithetical position between me and organized Christendom.

    One of the biggest problems with Christianity is that it is so unbelievably negative. All it is focused on is sin, death, suffering, misery, hating the world, not being good enough and condemning others. What value is there in such a dark and evil belief system?

    They preach life, and offer death on the other hand.

    And yes, if I hated life, there have been many times where I was very tempted to commit suicide. But I didn't. Do you know why? It sure as heck WASN'T because I "hated life", that's for sure.
     
  5. Life2Christ

    Life2Christ Guest

    +0
    No, I do not. Imagine walking into a bar or club where people are drunk and dancing very lewd, snorting coke in the bathroom, what would happen if you went into that club and told everyone stop doing this! Those people are happy they are free to do what they want. But it is hurting them. That is what that verse is. Stop loving your sin. Jesus was talking to the sinners, not those who are choosing God. Enjoying a good meal or movie has nothing to do with this verse.

    Edited to add: Jesus was also speaking to all of us, even the righteous. We can fall at any moment to temptation and sin so he is also reminding us to stay focused. Not to get caught up in other people's sin (and our own).
     
  6. myredeemer3

    myredeemer3 Newbie

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    Greetings Lutherangerman,
    I would like for you to go back and reread that verse in it's entirety. Notice that Jesus was about to give up His own life for us, this was right before He was to be crucified. He was addressing the Greeks. The Greeks at that time were very worldly people. They prided themselves on man's educational learning. They studied the past god's and adopted new ones for the new discoveries that they were studying about self interests, the earth, and their higher education of what life was all about. In other words they did not understand what Spirituality was, or that it even existed. They were 100% carnal. Therefore Jesus used a parable that they could identify with to try and explain to them what was about to happen to Him so they would understand why it was so very important for Him to give up His own life when they witnessed His crucifixion. They understood farming so they new that some seeds had to be set aside for the sole purpose of being replanted and not used for other worldly goods. Those set aside seeds would be planted so that the wheat could be replenished for future use. In other words, they were sacrificed for the good of "all" whether they wanted to be or not. If you store up wheat it is either used up completely or it molds and is of no more use.
    Jesus new His sole, (soul) :) purpose was to fulfill God's Will by sacrificing His life for "all" of ours. He came to die so that we might live. Jesus then goes on to say this phrase you are wondering about, "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life". He is telling the worldly, idolatry, Greeks that there is more to life than storing up goods and treasures for the sole purpose of the here and now. He wants them to understand storing up of earthly pleasures, wheat, will only feed them now. But if they do the unselfish thing, reseed, replenish, they will have a reward waiting for them later, a much greater harvest, will await them. They would be able to understand this spiritually only when the Holy Spirit would come to them after Jesus rose to be seated at the right hand of God. The original Greek translates this verse "The one loving the soul of himself destroys it, and the hating of the soul of himself in this world, he will guard it into life eternal". Jesus gave us life to be happy in all He has given us to enjoy. When we take worldly things and treasure them so much that they become like idols to us, and we horde them up for our own purpose, and never give back anything to others, or we become blind to the will of our Father, then we in trouble. Be happy and love the things you have been given by God, but not to the point where you have put yourself on the "throne" in place of Jesus. Be ready to set aside your own wants and desires, when Jesus asks.
     
  7. Scott1979

    Scott1979 Grateful

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    I don't not know the Bible as I should. I will openly admit that. It seems to me though that God would not want us to be miserable during our time on this earth. He died for us and went through the horrendous things He did so we would not have to. Putting God first should be the main objective of anyone who chooses to follow God. On the same note I don't think God is going to mind someone enjoying some of the things He created. I love a beautiful sunrise and sunset. I love nature itself. I don't think people should get wrapped up in the materialistic things that don't matter. We all need money to survive. We know that and so does God. It's becoming to obessed with getting to much money and possessions that a problem starts to form.
     
  8. tcwoods91

    tcwoods91 Friend of God

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    I take God at His word when He makes a statement like this. I think that it is really easy to water down God's word and say "God didn't really mean that did He?" It's the same question that we have asked ever since the garden of eden. Let me share my testimony;

    Going into last September I entered another school year of college feeling very empty and complacent. I knew that there had to be something more to life. As the school year began I started asking myself what it means to follow Jesus? This is a seemingly foundational question, but when you actually start to look at it you begin to realize how big of a question it truly is.

    I was a huge sports fan. I lived and breathed sports and would spend 3+ hours a day looking over sports stats and news. But all the while it only made me feel empty. At the same time it consumed me. My mind would constantly dwell on sports. I would constantly play out different scenarios in my head. For months I had felt like God was tugging on me to give it up, but I didn't want to. It was my life! But after reading the passage of Jesus encounter with the rich young ruler I was convicted. The rich young ruler had one thing that was keeping him from following Jesus. In his case it was his wealth. He loved his wealth and possessions more than he wanted to follow Jesus. While love of money was not a big thing in my life, I realized that sports was keeping me from completely following Jesus. There were so many times when I put sports ahead of God. It had become my god. It was idolatry.

    So I gave it up completely. I no longer watch sports or even keep up with them any more. When I finally gave it up, God started to work in amazing ways. All of the sudden I was experiencing a joy that I hadn't experienced before. I was freed from a pornography addiction. I expected it to be miserable, but it was fulfilling and I began to have a greater passion for Jesus. He was now number 1 in my life!

    October rolled around and to make a long story very short a few friends of mine and I had an encounter with demons. This encounter shook me up for a couple months. I was living in fear because of this. I knew that God was stronger in my mind, but my heart was still afraid. In December I decided that enough was enough and that He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. I surrendered my fear and began to seek God in earnestness once again. Each morning I would wake up and spend time in scripture and prayer. As time wore on I realized that there were even more things in my life that were hindering my walk with Jesus. I proceeded to give up several other things that we're keeping me from Jesus. In the process God began leading me into deliverance ministry as well as opened up doors for evangelism. He began giving me a boldness and courage that I'd never had before. I could see God transforming lives. Life began being exciting! It wasn't the misery that you were describing. Sure, it's just me and Jesus, but that's not miserable. Jesus is all I need! He is enough. I don't need all this other stuff to bring fulfillment. Now before you dismiss me as some sheltered monk that goes and lives out in the wilderness all by myself I should say that that is not at all what God calls us to. Is it wrong to go play a game of basketball with some buddies? Absolutely not. Fellowship is awesome and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings that God places in our lives. But when I do it, do I do it to satisfy my own selfish desires or do I do it to shine the light of Jesus Christ? I can be a witness and an encouragement through something as simple as basketball. The key is that Jesus is the center of everything. There is a reason that He is called the Life. He offers us life through Him.We aren't made dead by spending more time seeking Him, but are made alive!

    Here are some verses that I would like to share with you!

    "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cros, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

    It struck me that life is described as a race. In a race you don't want to be carrying a lot of stuff as it's going to slow you down. I came to the conclusion that if anything was keeping me from Jesus that I would cast it aside. Jesus is everything! There are two things that I hold to strongly. God calls us to love Him, and to love people. If what I am doing is not in one of those areas, I'm wasting my time and only being hindered in the race.

    When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father. ” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:18-22

    This may seem harsh, but Jesus is proving a point. There is a cost to following Jesus. It's not easy if you're truly following. When you follow Jesus, it's just you and Jesus.

    "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36

    "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6:19-20

    "He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

    Jesus said to love the Lord your God with ALL. Not just part of your being.

    Be encouraged my brother! There is great freedom in denial of self to seek God. It is not miserable as you may suggest. It is life-changing and the reward is far greater than anything you could get from earthly pleasure!
     
  9. Life2Christ

    Life2Christ Guest

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    Tcwoods, that was a really good answer.
     
  10. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

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    I don't know this all feels a bit too hyperspiritual to me. I know I need God as the center of my life, but there is also christian freedom. Paul wrote about it extensively. And I don't think everyone of us is called into a ministry. Paul also wrote that we should be living quiet lives, and that we shouldn't aim for the high but for the low things. Also, the Old Testament in the book of Ecclesiastes tells us that God quite simply loves us when we enjoy our work, our wives, and the spoils of our labor.

    In my german mother tongue there is this term, "Lebensfreude". In english we might translate that as enjoyment of life, gusto or soulfulness. It is really what I mean with loving life. I have a difficult sickness, schizophrenia, which often tore at my Lebensfreude in the last 11 years. So now I must tear away at it myself for the sake of Jesus when in fact we're explicitly given more freedom than we had before, through Jesus Christ?

    So I'm going with the thought that the life we're supposed to hate is just the life of this. Because, the passage speaks about "your life IN THIS WORLD". Yes, we shall not love this world, this is made clear elsewhere, but the world that is meant here is not the world of nature, jobplaces, museums, restaurants, cinemas, the internet, whatever. It's just the world of sin in mankind's life of sin, where there is no love and where God is not allowed to be God. It's about the flesh again, I think, this body of death in us that draws the sinfulness of the world into it.

    I think we need to read the Gospels with its sayings of Jesus with the explanatory texts in the epistles in mind. There is a reason Paul never literally mentions the issue of self denial again that Jesus presents in the Gospels. That is because in the truth it's about carnality again, and not that our true selves are somehow bad things which we need to be ashamed for. In fact God digs at us while we are in Christ and unearths our real selves which we have in Jesus Christ, and there is no need to deny these real selves because they are fully in accordance with God's design. God hates carnality because it is like a shameful cover of rags around a perfect body. Like a diamond that got thrown into the pig's pen. Our real selves are so closely united to Christ that they are part of Christ, and we see this reflected in Paul equating the church with the body of Jesus Christ.

    And this is exactly why some people have this fear of some of the Gospel's so-called hard sayings. They fear to loose their soul to them. Yet Jesus actually confirms the worth of our souls when He says that what does a man gain if it costs his soul? We can have self esteem and all those things. In the proper relation to everything else of course, but it has its place.

    The key is to draw Jesus into ALL of your life. You don't have to throw out sports or stuff like that for Jesus. If sports really is what you enjoy, then Jesus won't throw it out. But if you would have more joy in something else, then He will nag you about it. That's what happens to me too, for example I love computer games and when I am by myself I would spend all my time with it. Christian freedom permits this. But I know I am happier when I read good books and write poetry, so Jesus always nags me about it in my heart and I get a bad conscience when I play too many games. Jesus simply shapes us to be like Him - which means to live in the fullest truth of yourself, not that we have a nose like Jesus has and that we all become carpenters.

    God bless you!
     
  11. myredeemer3

    myredeemer3 Newbie

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    Amen. and God Bless you too!
     
  12. Emmy

    Emmy Senior Veteran

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    Dear lutherangerman. We know that Jesus came to bring us life abundantly, we know that Jesus died for us, that we might live, and we know that Jesus is our Saviour and The Way back to God, where we came from. In Matthew, Jesus tells a Lawyer that the first and great Commandment is: Love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. The second Commandment is: Love our neighbour as ourselves. Then Jesus states a great fact: " On these two Commandments hang All The Law AND The Prophets." Love is what God wants from us, LOVE, NEVER HATE. God is Love, and God wants loving children/sons and daughters, to live with Him for eternity. WE are on Earth to learn to love God with all our beings, and love our neighbour, ( all others, whether friends or not friends) love them as we love ourselves. Can you find the word Hate in any of this? luther? Hate is as far away from Love as dark from light, and God/Jesus is Love and Compassion. We all know God`s Law of Justice, which will mete out God`s Blessings and Rewards for being Good, and also fitting consequences for being NOT Good. The world at large knows it: Ye will reap what ye sow. In other words: God`s eternal Law will see that we get what we deserve. I) Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4-8, will tell us what Love is: not only a feel-good factor, but also a " Do Good to Become Good." The word Hate is a bad translation, it does not go with the Love which God/Jesus is, it is more meaningful in the language Satan and his followers use. I say this with love, lutherangerman. Greetings from Emmy, your sister in Christ.
     
  13. mrmccormo

    mrmccormo Newbie

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    "Loving your life" and "hating your life" has very little to do with emotional joy or pain. You gotta remember that the Biblical meaning of "love" isn't just an emotion. If you were to "love" something in a Biblical sort of way, that means that you are devoted to it, you're thinking about it, you're serving it.

    So, when you serve your own life, you indeed will lose it because you can't serve two masters. When you "hate" your life (as in, you do not serve it, you do not devote yourself to it) then you've opened up the door for the salvation of Christ to do its work in you.
     
  14. lutherangerman

    lutherangerman Senior Member

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    Oh MrMcCormo, then I am fine, I do not want to serve my life. I just enjoy being happy to be alive and don't like to give up that enjoyment.
     
  15. michaelwriting

    michaelwriting Newbie

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    My experience with this has been learning to 'let go' and 'surrender'.

    Jesus said that he came so we could 'have life and have it more abundantly'. I can enjoy life, but I equally have to surrender my life to Christ at the same time. Not my will, but his be done. Revelation says that 'they loved not their lives unto death'.

    Sort of a paradox eh? But they both join together. I let go of my life, and I accept Christ's life in me. He empowers me. He doesn't expect me to be miserable. He wants me to have peace, joy, goodness in my life. To enjoy the life he has given me. But I cannot be 'in love' with the world or the things in it. That is an unhealthy attachment that will only take me down. While I enjoy doing fun things, am I willing to lay down my life for God's call on me? Both can be done at the same time.

    Not sure if that makes sense to anyone else but me(?). Anyways, thanks for the posting.
     
  16. Incariol

    Incariol Newbie

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    "We desire our freedom. Why? In order to be slaves to our passions." --Mother Gabrielia
     
  17. Johnnz

    Johnnz Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Jesus was addressing the Hebrew people. They had their own expectations of what Messiah would accomplish for them nationally, and they also took great pride in keeping Torah. Jesus challenged them that His goal, the breaking of the dominion of sin and death would not come from political and military conquest, but by a Different way - by death and resurrection. They had to let go of all their preconceptions.

    Throughout Scripture God's blessings ar every real, earthly things - food, homes, good crops, wine, children. Jesus never taught a Greek dualism of the evilness of matter versus the more noble 'spiritual' realm.

    John
    NZ
     
  18. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    I take it literally that the verse was dealing with the expectation of martyrdom, not asceticism. The faith was spread by those who were willing to follow Jesus' example and sacrifice their lives to establish the kingdom and Christ’s kingship. Acknowledging Jesus as your Lord and Savior could have gotten you killed in Roman territory back then but that changed when Rome took Christianity on as the state religion.
     
  19. Terene

    Terene Bondslave of Jesus Christ

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    Hearty amen!:thumbsup:
     
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