HAVE I LOST MYSELF?

HAVE I LOST MYSELF?

“What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Mark 8:36 [MSG]

This is a very ‘new age’ thought, isn’t it? In our day, we are very concerned with losing ourselves. We worry that if we give too much at work, we lose ourselves to our work; we worry that if we give too much in a relationship, we lose ourselves in the pursuit of love. Yet the irony is, the more we worry, the more we let the worry consume us and the more we are in danger of actually losing ourselves. Stop for a moment and look at our parents and their parents. Their lives only revolved around their work and the home and they seemed to derive all the purpose they ever needed; there was never any question of them losing themselves. But that no longer applies to us. What has changed?

Well beloved, nothing has changed. To Jesus, losing ourselves is an age old problem. In fact, He was talking to the people about precisely this in Caesarea Philippi and just before that, Mark records for us an incident which can be well used for illustration.

“Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they are worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy,
Ditching God’s command
and taking up the latest fads.” Mark 7:6-8 [MSG]

The Pharisees had lost themselves in their pursuit of being religious. In the incident recorded for us in Mark 7, they had placed more emphasis on the act of keeping God’s law than the true meaning and intent behind the law; and this was Jesus’ response.

“He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”” Mark 7:9-13

Here, Jesus warns us very clearly that if we lose ourselves in this same manner, get distracted by the opinions of the world and lose sight of our Father’s true intent for our lives, the word of God no longer is of any effect for us; and this is promptly seen in Mark 8.

“The Pharisees came and began to argue with and question Him, demanding from Him a sign (an attesting miracle from heaven) [maliciously] to test Him.” Mark 8:11 [AMPC]

Here they come again, demanding for a sign. But what has Jesus just done?

“At about this same time he again found himself with a hungry crowd on his hands. He called his disciples together and said, “This crowd is breaking my heart. They have stuck with me for three days, and now they have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they’ll faint along the way—some of them have come a long distance.”
His disciples responded, “What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?”
He asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they said.
So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well. The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected. There were well over four thousand at the meal. Then he sent them home. He himself went straight to the boat with his disciples and set out for Dalmanoutha.” Mark 8:1-10 [MSG]

Jesus had just fed a huge crowd with just seven loaves and a few fish, leaving them with still seven sacks leftover. And this was not the first time too because the passage begins by telling us that Jesus ‘again’ found Himself with a hungry crowd on His hands. So when was the last time?

“Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.” Mark 6:39-44 [MSG]
Yes, the last time was when He fed five thousand with five loaves and two fish, leaving them with twelve baskets leftover.

And feeding the masses was not the only miracle that Jesus performed between the time He rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy in Mark 7 and the time they demanded a sign of His sovereignty in Mark 8. In between, He had time to cast out demons from the daughter of a Gentile woman (Mark 7:24-30) and heal a man who was deaf and mute (Mark 7:31-37). Yet, because the Pharisees had lost themselves to their pursuit of keeping their tradition, all these signs just passed them by and their impact was to them of no effect.

But you know what beloved, just as it was with the Pharisees, so too is it with us. For remember,

“sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you,” Genesis 4:7 [AMP]

We lose ourselves when we lose sight of what is really important. And what is really important is the restful life of blessing and protection that Jesus came to bring. After all, remember that Jesus said,

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 [AMPC]

If we lose sight of His love for us and forget that we are treasured and cherished, we will miss all the good that our Father is doing in our lives, the same way that the disciples missed the meaning behind Jesus’ miracles, even though they had firsthand, ring-side seats to each and every one.

“Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”
They said, “Twelve.”
“And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”
“Seven.”
He said, “Do you still not get it?”” Mark 8:16-21 [MSG]

Indeed, “For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].” Mark 8:35 [AMPC]

When we let go of the trappings that this world uses to distract us from our Father’s love; we let Jesus fill our minds, our hearts and our lives with the joys that come from the higher, spiritual and eternal life which He has purposed for us. And this is not some far-fetched, intangible fairy’s tale either; for,

“Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 [MSG]

Beloved, remember that Solomon, in his writings, saw such a man.

“Here is one alone—no one with him; he neither has child nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labor, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither does he ask, For whom do I labor and deprive myself of good? This is also vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility); yes, it is a painful effort and an unhappy business.” Ecclesiastes 4:8 [AMPC]

Don’t lose yourself to the distractions of the world. Don’t clamor after what this world has to offer. Don’t let our Father’s promises of protection and provision be of no effect to you. Stay your eyes on Jesus and see the miracles that He is working in your life each and every day. But more than that; stay your eyes on Him and see just how much He loves you.

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