The love of life is the foundation of all sins.
Is it more blessed to be rich or to be poor? It all depends on who you ask. If you ask Joe Christian, he will tell you it is more blessed to be rich. But Jesus says different. He says: “Blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20): he does not say: “Blessed are the rich.” Indeed, he proclaims woe on the rich (Luke 6:24).
Christians despise the peculiar blessings of the kingdom of God because we are guilty of the sin of love of life. We are either rich or we want to be rich. Therefore, we reject Jesus’ message about the blessings of poverty. We put all emphasis on Jesus death, and ignore what he says about the way we should live. But the life of Jesus, and not just his death, is the light of men (John 1:4). The sheep of the Good Shepherd are those who follow his example.
Hatred of life
Jesus says: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). This shows that our salvation is dependent on two interrelated issues. We must love God with all our heart, and we must hate this life with all our heart.
Are we hoping things will get better in Nigeria so that our lives can improve? Then we are not fit for the kingdom of God. Jesus warns us to remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32). Instead of escaping from Sodom, her heart remained there. Therefore she looked back wistfully at the smoldering city and became a pillar of salt.
A true disciple of Jesus has no interest in making the world a better place. The gospel prepares men for a kingdom that is not of this world. It is not a tool for changing the world but for overcoming it (John 16:33). According to Jesus, this world can never become a better place. It will only go from bad to worse (Matthew 24:6-8).
Christians are urged in churches to give our lives to Christ but not to hate our lives. But James calls this oversight adulterous. He asks: “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” (James 4:4). Similarly, John also cautions Christians: “Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you do not really love God; for all these worldly things, these evil desires– the craze for sex, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance- these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself.” (1 John 2:15-16).
The pride of life
Eve’s love of life made her susceptible to the devil’s lie that eating the forbidden fruit would be profitable. The lust of her eyes told her the fruit was beautiful. The pride of life convinced her she would become wise by eating it. So she ate it and so did Adam. Thereby, they fell out of favour with God because they sought to improve their lives outside of God’s counsel.
This satanic trap remains the downfall of men till date. The love of life is behind every sin we commit. We love life, so we strive and do ungodly things to get ahead. We gossip and back-bite because our love of life propels us to seek to diminish the lives of others. We regard every accusation or abuse as an attack against our life and therefore answer it stridently. We wage war against others in order to protect or improve our life. We tell lies to embellish or defend the realities of our life. We are unfaithful in love and marriage because we want to live life selfishly to the full.
But Jesus asks: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). In truth, it is impossible to make significant gains in this world without commiting sin. Sin is the easiest, quickest, surefire formula for success in the world. The psalmist says: “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). But the man who has found the pearl of the kingdom loses all desire for gain in this world. Thereby, he overcomes sin by despising the world.
Jesus says: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
Most Christians have yet to find this hidden treasure because we are still preoccupied with the vanities of this bankrupt world.