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In the 12th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

He said that to keep our lives for eternal life we must hate our lives in this world. That’s important. I don’t know about you, but I kinda like the idea of eternal life. So, if you are like me, we better figure out what it means to hate our life in this world if we want to enjoy eternal life in heaven.

One thing we can figure out it is that hating our lives in this world is at odds with loving our lives. Jesus said that those who love their lives will lose them.  So they are opposite. It is some kind of paradox. If I love my life I will lose it, but if I hate my life in this world then I will keep it for eternal life.

I think the key is the phrase “in this wold”. John uses the word “world” a lot, more than the other gospel writers. We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world….” In the context of that verse, the world seems to be something good, something worth dying for. Something worth God dying for. Let’s keep investigating.

John 1:9 says, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” That’s good. Verse 10 says, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” That’s not so good.

It gets worse. I mentioned John 3:16, which most people know, but how ’bout John 3:19, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” So now we have gone from the world not recognizing the Light, to the world hating the Light because its deeds were evil. I think maybe we are beginning to figure out why we should hate our lives in this world.

In John eight, Jesus is talking to a crowd of Jews and he says, “You are from below; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

Here Jesus is saying that he is not of this world – this world that does not recognize him and this world whose deeds are evil.  Jesus is saying that he is out of this world, and in a sense he is inviting the crowd, and us, to leave this world with its evil and sins, and to join him in some other world.

John wrote in his first letter in chapter one, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Here John is echoing what he wrote in his Gospel in chapter 12.  Hating our life in the world means hating the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  If we love our lives, Jesus is saying we love lust and pride.  If we hate our lives in this world, then we are loving another world that God is inviting us into, otherwise know as the Kingdom of God.

Jesus talks a lot about this Kingdom.  His first sermon in Matthew is in chapter five, the Sermon on the Mount, and is all about this Kingdom, and how it contrasts to the world.  Jesus says that in this world, people have hate in their hearts which many times leads to murder.  In this world people have lust in their hearts, which many times leads to adultery.  In this world people have egoistic pride in their hearts and they hate their enemies. They hate people who are different from them.

Jesus invites those who hear his words to leave this world and join his Kingdom.  He tells them rather than the world’s way of hate and kill, go the Kingdom way of reconciliation.  Rather than the world’s way of sexual lust which leads to sexual immorality and sexual manipulation, go the Kingdom route and think graciously and considerately of all humans.  Rather than the world’s way of hating your enemies, consider the Kingdom way of  praying  for them and loving them.

I read about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life everyday in the news.  Awhile back a man who hated Muslims went into a Mosque in New Zealand and killed many worshipers inside.  As retaliation, some Muslims recently went into Christian churches in Sri Lanka killing hundreds of believers. This is the worlds way, not the Kingdoms way.  I hate the worlds way.

Here are some stories in the news today:

A white supremacist who chained a black man to the back of his pickup and dragged him around for three miles until he died was executed.

A postal carrier tried to stop a fight between a mother and teenage son.  The teenager shot him.

An abusive ex husband secretly lived in a woman’s attic for weeks. 

13 year old Houston girl dies after middle school fight.

Charity workers accused of stealing money meant for homeless.

Nursing home employee recorded sex tape with 78 year old man she scammed.

This is just some of the news FOR TODAY!!!  It’s like this everyday in our world.  I hate my life in this world!  How about you?  It’s no wonder Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew chapter 6, “YOUR KINGDOM come, YOUR WILL be done, on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.”  The more people hate their lives in this world, and love the Kingdom life of God, the more heaven on earth we will have, and the happier everyone will be.

 

 

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