Living with the End in View involves
Keeping Your Passions in Check
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (Luke 9:23–24)
In the movie Backdraft, a woman had divorced her husband because he loved his firefighter job so much that he neglected his family. We can love something else so much that we overlook other things—such as the care of our souls.
To deny our “selves” is not to deny who we are, or pretend something isn’t so. It means to control the natural drives God gave us. If we do not keep our “selves” in check, our passions will compromise obedience to Christ. The firefighter, for instance, did not keep his firefighting passion in check. He allowed it to override his God-given responsibility to his wife and child by ignoring them. His loyalty to the fire team compromised his loyalty to the family.
For what advantage is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:25–26)
Jesus spoke particularly about gaining the whole world because we are an unsatisfied people who tend to believe fulfillment consists of possessions. My son loves getting new toys. Never mind that he already has nearly one hundred cars in his room. The more cars, the merrier! The problem comes when he has to stop playing cars and obey my voice to come to the table at mealtime. Does he love his cars more than coming to the dinner table? Every day he has to decide afresh which to follow, his desire to please himself or please me. Every day confronts us with similar choices—for self or Christ.
Christ’s call rightfully demands our absolute loyalty. And He will reward it. He promises a hundredfold more to those who have abandoned lands and kindred for Him (Matt. 19:29). He calls us to moderation in the fleeting pleasures of this life lest they extinguish a passion for eternal blessings to come.
Christ does not portray Himself in the verses above as a grandfatherly King who will let bygones be bygones. He will indeed be ashamed, shaking His head over those who preferred this world’s goods to His words of life. What does a true disciple say of the lure of the world? “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68–69). We love to play with our “toys,” but let’s keep the greatest joy, Jesus, in view at all times.
Living with the end in view means keeping your passions in check.
Steps of faith:
See how your recent decisions have enhanced or compromised
—your personal times studying the Word of God.
—your quiet times in prayer.
—church participation and Christian fellowship.
—personal character of faithfulness and love.
Selection from Living with the End in View, Book 1, Steve Husting