At times Christians can be very self deprecative. We are born in sin, and when we give our lives to God, our awakening to the truth can shed a light on our lives that makes us feel ashamed. Often times we conflate our hatred for our past sins with a disdain for our physical lives. Some go so far as to devalue their physical lives by looking past this life and seeking only what awaits in the afterlife. While it is true that for believers in God, the afterlife will be something far greater than anything we could ever experience here on Earth, we should be careful not to devalue the lives we are given here. After all, our lives are gifts from God, and he has a plan for each of us.
Even Jesus valued his physical life. For example, take his time in Gethsemane right before he was apprehended. Up to that point, Jesus had warned his disciples on several occasions that he would soon be killed. When he was on the precipice of the fate that awaited him, he did not rejoice in his coming demise. From Matthew 26:36-43
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Jesus begged the Father to take away the cup, which represented the suffering he would face, three different times. His physical existence was important and in His humanity, he felt the need to escape pain as we all do. Prior to taking on a human form, Jesus had all the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent glory that we normally associate with God. Simply becoming human was a sacrifice on his part, and no one could have blamed him for being anxious to be rid of the flesh and all its weaknesses. Yet he was still hesitant to drink the cup of God’s wrath and die even knowing it was what was best. If Jesus was hesitant to face what the Father laid before him, how can we, who know no existence other than this one, be so quick to devalue and be rid of our lives? We should value our lives on Earth and even love them because our lives give us a unique opportunity to glorify God.
However, as with most things, there is a catch. You have to ask yourself a couple questions. How valuable is your life? Are you living a life worth loving? Jesus spent his life executing the Father’s will. His Earthly existence was dedicated to spreading the Gospel, standing against evil, and caring for his fellow man. Even when begging the Father to take away his burden, he still acknowledged that the Father’s will was more important. We understand the importance of his death, but truly, Jesus’ life was valuable too. None of us can be God in the flesh like Jesus, but God has plans for all of our lives. Just as Jesus’ adherence to the Father’s will gave his life value, so too will our lives be given value if only we follow God’s will and live according to his plan. 1 John 2:5 says:
But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him.
What if we spend our lives obeying God and following his will? Our very lives will then be reflections of our love for God. Lives that are defined by the love of God and love for God are truly lives worth loving. Love your life and live it in a way that demonstrates your love for God. You never know who is watching. You just might be teaching them how to love God and themselves too.