A Faith Reflection
Your value system needs to start inside.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Well, I always wait for you to answer because I know some of you do, bless your hearts. I’m glad to have people that talk back. Shows you’re alive, doesn’t it?
Say, we’ve been looking at Mark chapter 8, and we’ve got three things there that are given in explanation of the great statement, “If any man whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me”. One has to do with your goals in life, another has to do with your values in life, and the third has to do with your loyalties in life. That’s what we’re working on right now.
We’re in Mark eight verse 35, “Whosoever will save his life, shall lose it. Whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it”. This has to do with your goal and the way you invest your life. Now, you know of course, that however successful and rich a person may become, when physical death occurs, he or she leaves it all behind and there’s nothing left then, for that after life, because it’s all left here. The classic illustration of that of course is, Christ’s story of the rich man who said to himself, “What shall I do because I’ve no room to bestow all of my fruits and my goods? This will I do, I will tear down my barns and build greater, and there will I bestow all my fruits of my goods and I will say unto my soul, soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years take thine easy, drink and be merry”, but God said on to him, “Thou fool. This very night shall thy soul be required of thee, then whose shall those things be which thou hast laid out”? I’m quoting and I think I got it pretty accurately there. You see, ‘This night thy soul, then who shall the things be?” well it’ll be somebody else’s, that’s for sure. Not yours because you’re gone. “Whosoever save his life shall lose it”. The more you specialize in gain to me, the less you have for eternal values. Jesus our Lord said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal”. Remember His saying that?
So, Paul the apostle then said, “What things were gained to me, those I counted lost for Christ”. What is it that you’re striving for? Something that will last only till the undertaker has you? Or are you striving for something that will last for all eternity? You live for eternity, if you’re a wise believer. “Whosoever shall lose”, that means invest really, “his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it”. What are your goals in life? What are you really working for? Now, you can tell what your goals in life are by asking another question: What upsets me the most when it goes wrong? You can tell what your goals in life are by asking what upsets me the most when it goes wrong. If your goals in life happen to be comfort and everything working well, then you’re going get upset when the furnace breaks down on the coldest day of winter. Well, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be happy if the furnace broke down for me on the coldest day of winter. I’m not saying you have to dance up and down with joy. I’m simply saying that you have things in perspective as they relate to what is really important in your life. You follow me?
You can tell what your goals in life are by asking what upsets me the most when it goes wrong and what delights me the most, here’s the other side of that question, what delights me the most when it goes well? Make sure that your goals are related to eternity with eternity’s values in view, Lord. That’s the little chorus says, with eternity’s values in view. “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ, will last.”
“We must all appear”, says Paul, “before the judgment seat of Christ that every man may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether be good or bad, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”. See, this has nothing to do with salvation, that passage that I just quoted for you from 2nd Corinthians 5. That has nothing to do with your salvation; it has to do with God’s evaluation of what you lived for while you were living on earth. “Set your goals in heaven”. This is what Paul says in Colossians 3, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear then shall ye also appear with Him in glory”. Set your affection on things above.
What is the goal of your life? What you striving for? What are you living for? What are you willing to die for? Well it’s a question that only you can answer, beloved. I hope that as we chat together, you and I, during these moments, you’ll be thinking about your answer to that question, and as God the Holy Spirit guides you in your thinking, perhaps there may be some realignment of our personal goals in life.
Then you come to the matter of values, don’t you? Verses 36 and 37, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul”? It’s a poor bargain, you see, “or having lost it what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”, how can you go to buy it back once you’ve lost it? Now here is the truth of the matter and it’s mind-boggling in its immensity. The Lord Jesus said, that your soul, yours and mine, any human being’s spirit, is worth more than all the riches of all the world. “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul”? Number one, you are responsible for the use you make of your life. “What shall it profit a man if he shall lose his own soul”? You are responsible for the use you make of your life and the value was you assigned to it. It has to be said sadly, that many a young person and many a grown-up, is in the process of throwing his life away, carelessly wasting a life that could be used for God’s glory. Somebody has remarked, and I don’t know to whom to credit the quotation but someone remarked that we are shocked at a suicide, but we think nothing of frittering our lives away, piece by small piece. Yes it’s true. You’re not committing suicide by shooting yourself as a public figure did not so long ago, when he had news conference, in a dramatic and horribly tragic suicide. You’re not doing it that way, but perhaps some of my listeners right this moment, are in the process of destroying yourself, by little and little, little steps of compromise, little detours in life, little shortcuts, little wastages.
Someone analyzed the water system of New York City a while back, and determined that there are thousands upon thousands of small leaks in the system, all the way from faucets left running in someone’s apartment, to great breaks in the water mains. Thousands upon thousands of leaks in the system which result in the wastage of billions, literally, of gallons of water as the days go by, and many a life is plagued by that same process. Thousands of small failures, compromises, detours, aberrations, shortcuts, and your life is wasted. What are then your values? What are your values? “What shall it profit a man”?
See, I don’t know whether we realize this or not, God expects us to declare a profit from our life. Our Lord Jesus taught this at almost every turn. Think of the parable of the talents. The noblemen gave five talents to one, two to another, one to another, and said, “Occupy”, that means make use of, “this till I come”. One who had five talents invested, got five more. The one who had two talents, invested them got two more, the one who had one talent went and buried it in the earth and dug it up when he was asked for it, and brought it said, here’s your money, and he was scolded for it, because he hadn’t made use of it. “What shall it profit a man”. God is aware of the bottom line, beloved. God is aware of whether or not there’s an excessive income or excessive expenses, whether the figure at the bottom line is written in bold, black figures are in parentheses indicating that you’re in the red. God knows about that and Jesus taught that your life, my dear friend, is to show a profit, not just now but for eternity. Could you say, could you say that your life is profitable?
Somebody’s saying to me sadly, “Brother Cook you don’t know what I’m up against. You don’t know the heartache, the heartbreak, the miserable conditions that I have to live through. Husband walked away, children some of them on drugs, or in other situations it that are unfavorable. My own heart breaking with burden and fear, longing and hurt and you’re talking to me about a profitable life”. Yea, I know, I know, I know. What I’m saying is circumstances do not determine the net result of your personal life. Beloved listen, some of you are in such difficult circumstances this moment, but your life can shine for the Lord Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit can fill your life. God’s love can be expressed through your life and your words and your actions. God’s power can be expressed in your faith, as you look at things that are impossible and by faith in God, you tackle them and He sees you through. Yes you can show a personal profit in your life as God manages it. Believe me. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul”? Where does the value system of a Christian begin? It begins with your own soul and its relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle, although he’d been a Christian for many years said, “Oh that I may know Him”, and he used the verb that means to know in a personal and intimate and wonderful friendship way. “Oh that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings being made conformable unto His death”. Said, “I want to know His resurrection power, I want to know His Calvary love and I want to be like Him’. That’s what he’s saying. Your values need to start, your value system needs to start inside.
Evelyn Christianson, the author of books on prayer, says in one of her books, that she began to pray, “Lord, change me”, and as God began to operate in her own life, she found other people were responding as well. I have adopted that approach myself, and I believe that God honors it when you say, Lord start with me. Start the revival with me. We used to sing, “Lord, send a revival and let it begin in me”. Somebody ask our Dr. R.A. Torrey how to start revival. He said, “Take a piece of chalk and draw a circle and stand inside the circle and say, ‘Lord, start a revival inside the circle’”. That’s the way the Lord does it. Adjust your value system by starting inside with Jesus.
Dear Father today, may our values reflect the eternal love of God and Calvary’s power in our lives, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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