Do not most human beings love their lives? The question occurred in our minds as we read Revelation ch. 12 v.11 today. It follows on from v.9 and its reference to “the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” We recall how a particular disciple of Jesus was called a “devil” – in John 6 v.70 Jesus said, “”Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” The world is increasingly full of people with a godless mindset: indeed, today, this is just about “the whole world.” How few “know” God. How much does this influence us? Let us be honest in our self-examination!
In John 12 v.25 there is one of the most challenging things Jesus said, ” Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” We may say that these are 2 opposites – but in the way our Saviour sees human lives – these are the two choices – there is nothing in between! A picture that is plainly portrayed in several sayings of Jesus. Those who seek to serve him and his Father must “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” [Matt, 7 v.13]
There are areas (and countries) in life where the 2 ‘gates’ are, or have been, far more in evidence than at other times and places. Back in Revelation, we see that “the devil and Satan” is in charge of the broad way – and is very welcoming to human nature – unless that nature is “inspired” by the words and ways of God.
Our reading in Revelation shows that those who “conquered” did so “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” [v.11] We have “the word of their testimony” – we must, in a sense, love it more than our lives.
What is it to love ones’ life? It means to love the here and the now, possessions and experiences – letting them fully occupy our thoughts – setting out to love and enjoy this life. Most see this as being what their ‘evolved’ lives are all about –of what their Creator must be.
But those not blinded – develop an increasingly wondrous vision of the Creator – and His Son – embracing the Son with all their hearts and minds – for their Saviour has given them eternal meaning to their lives. Is that true of you and I? Let us relate our thoughts on this back to what we read last week in 1 John ch. 2 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” [v.15-17]
May “the love of the Father” be in us – for then, if the situation of evil so develops around us we will be among those who have “loved not their lives even unto death” but we will “abide forever.”