By Robert Halsey Pine
“We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:5-12 NRSV).
Most of us live too much to ourselves. Even if we believe that when we die that we die to the Lord, it is hard for us to give up ourselves and live to the Lord. Our personal control over our lives is hard to relinquish. And why is that? We lack faith in the Lord. We have more faith in an investment in the stock market.
We deny the one to whom we belong. We have no trouble identifying with our natural parents. We know that “this is my mother and this is my father.” Many adopted children long to know their real parents and search for years to find them. It is important for us to know where we come from and who we come from in a natural sense. If we believe that God created life along with all that there is to support it, why would we not have a stronger sense of wanting to know God than to know our natural parents? No doubt our natural parent relationships are important, but God created us humans and all the things that cause reproduction and birth to happen.
Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26 NRSV).” Jesus is not saying that we should specifically hate our loved ones and hate our own lives. He is trying to show us by comparison how much more we should love and follow Him. If something about our lives or our kinfolk comes between Jesus and us, then we should hold fast with Him. The trick is that if we all turn to Him and follow; it is a moot point about our relationships as individuals versus our relationship with Him. We are all to turn to Him regardless of life and relationships.
It is just this thing that leads us astray. We would rather disappoint God than to disappoint a parent, a friend or a business associate. We are more concerned about the moment than we are about eternal life with our true Father.
Father God, I pray that You help me start changing that portion of my life that I live to myself, so that I may live to You more and more and achieve Your everlasting kingdom. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.