The older we get, the harder it is to see people. Not that we deny their existence, but we struggle to connect emotionally and find less and less reasons to be vulnerable with them. For a lot of us, we simply do the bare minimum to avoid messy and potentially stressful situations.
But this entropy of self-protection will eventually destroy us. Why? Because no matter how much we tell ourselves life is found in dreams and security and substances, we know deep down it’s in people. Those in recovery will tell you the cure for addiction is not sobriety but what? Relationships.
This growing distance between spouses and friends and families is the heart of what the Bible calls sin. The world thinks sin is violating a moral law, which is only partly true. Sin is ultimately the distance we create between us and God through self-actualization and self-preservation. Adam and Eve sought to be like God and have his wisdom by eating from a forbidden tree, but instead found darkness and despair.
The son of God understood this exchange when he warned his disciples not to trade loving God and people for loving ourselves. Jesus says in Luke 17:32-33 “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
Lot’s wife knew where rescue was found (in the Lord) but looked back at Sodom being destroyed by fire and wanted it more than her life, and because of this she lost it. And her pillar of salt is our testament to the foolishness of going back to things we know will not love us and know us and save us.
Relationships are hard, I get it. You have so many reasons to not trust others and to be emotionally aloof, but where does it lead? It leads to an island where you will live out the rest of your days surviving like Tom Hanks, with cheap substitutes for the life you were made for while the world passes you by and people move on.
And the only answer, according to Jesus, is to lose your life. To stop living for yourself and protecting yourself and instead trust someone else! In fact, more than just trust, surrender yourself fully into the care of someone who is able not only to protect but fulfill and love you.
Give your life to the one who gave his life for you. On the cross of Jesus, a great exchange occurred as he lost his life to give you yours. Jesus died so your foolishness of self-actualization might be forgiven, he died to protect you from the fruit of your self-protection. His arms were stretched wide so you might see God wants you and not the shadow of existence your distrust has created.
He calls to you but what will you do? Continue losing people you love and squandering the life you’ve been given, or turn to his voice and lose your version of life so you might gain his? It’s your choice but know in these last days God promises to give us his spirit so we may see the revelation of this new life and the hope it brings.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” – Joel 2:28
Fred Kingman is a student pastor at LifePoint Church.