Mark 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
“The way up is down.” That is one description of what it means to live under the rule or management of God. You are going up (being blessed, improving), but you are moving towards it via a different route. You are finding life (true life, eternal life, abundant life), but you do so by losing your life. This is the way of God.
The prophet Isaiah says that God’s ways are higher than our (human) ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). This means that if we are thinking God’s way, we will be thinking differently than people who use merely human wisdom. We may not be understood by some, including people who are close to us, but it doesn’t mean we are wrong. It simply means that God’s ways are beyond the ability of man to understand if he is not being enabled by the Holy Spirit to think the way that God sees things.
God lives for his glory. You and I exist for God’s glory. God loves us and wants us to be happy. We want to be happy. The good news is this: God’s glory and our joy are not contradictory. In fact, they are in perfect harmony. However, the way is not clear to those who use only human ability to understand and they are not living for God’s glory. They are not able to understand God’s ways because their minds are blinded by the spiritual deadness in their spirits. Only as they come alive in God can their spiritual eyes also be resurrected so that they can see as God sees and think as God thinks.
Life is not all about us. It’s about God and people, without neglecting ourselves. In fact, the second greatest commandment is that we love people like we love ourselves. So we need to love ourselves. But “loving ourselves” and “being in love with ourselves” are very different from each other. We are to take care of ourselves very well, but we are not to be self-centered or self-absorbed. In fact, self-centeredness is a sure formula for loneliness and unhappiness. And above loving others like we love ourselves, you and I are to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. That is the greatest commandment. And since God knows best and he is also the one who is most interested in our joy, then to do as he says is the sure way to be happy.
May the Lord set us free today from the broken thinking of man apart from God and also from the lies of Satan. And may we embrace God’s superior wisdom and ways.