Luke 9:23-24: “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”

In chapter 9 of Luke’s gospel we read about the tell-tale signs that Jesus’ ministry on Earth was coming to a close. On His way to Jerusalem where His own life would be taken Jesus addressed the crowd with the following words: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” Jesus walked the talk. He did not hang on to His own life; giving up His life He saved it when God resurrected Him on the Third Day; and by freely giving His life He ultimately saved ours.

However, ever since we walked out on Eden we’ve been in the habit of hanging on to our own life, our own way, and rely on our own best judgment. It’s the human condition. “East of Eden”, a novel written by John Steinbeck and transformed into a movie in 1955 is showcasing the pain of faltering human relationships. There’s plenty of pain involved living outside of Eden; though we’ve also experienced the amazing goodness of the Lord for not dropping us like a hot potato. Once life on Earth becomes a mere memory, we are able to look back and recognize without a shadow of a doubt that life without God is no life at all.

After Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave He sat down at the right hand of God. That says it all. He is a hero in the Father’s eyes because what His heart wanted most – extending grace to all His estranged children – is now happening on any given day. People realize one by one that they are loved by God, that the doors to reconciliation are wide open. Reunions take place. People find Heaven or Heaven finds them. Jesus’ sacrificial death enables grace upon grace!

If food goes bad we throw it in the trash. When mankind turned bad God didn’t do that. The longer we’ve lived seeing what is happening on this planet (and has been going on for generations) the more God’s belief in us becomes apparent. Yes, this is an astounding fact: God believes in us – so much so that He bet His Son’s life on it. He invests in us by withholding nothing and giving it all! If God so full-heartedly believes in us, shouldn’t we believe in Him?

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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