Dying to live
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16.25
From its very beginning, Jesus' human life defies what we consider to be our natural instincts for flourishing: possessiveness and self-advancement. Instead of coming in glory, wealth and power, God chose a humble birth to ordinary parents. Then, on the threshold of his public ministry, Jesus again confronted the temptation of privilege, confirming his determination to pioneer a nobler way, which not only fulfilled his vocation to live an authentic human life but would also present an accessible example for others to follow.
The willingness to love others by prioritising them over ourselves is essential to breaking the cycle of greed and conflict. And it amounts to a daily - even hourly - death, to our baser instinct to put our own interest, comfort and ambition over others'. This is counter-cultural as well as difficult, some might say impossible. That is why we need to Holy Spirit to guide and empower us, while we ignore the worldly wisdom which shrieks at us constantly to indulge our whims and fancies.
Admitting our weakness and selfishness is a useful place to begin. Then we must resolutely lay down our lives and ask God both to purge us of all sinful desires and to fill us with the Holy Spirit. In losing ourselves in Christ we shall be born again in Him. That is what the apostle Paul meant when he exclaimed: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2.20).
Change may not come instantly and we may well continue to be plagued by doubts and temptation. Until Christ calls us home and/ or comes again, we are works in progress and we have so much to learn. But, rest assured, once you have made that commitment your prevailing is assured - because God is faithful and he has the power and authority to deliver what he promises...