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Two ways to live

"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." Luke 17.33

So it was a draw. Disappointing for England, who expect victory; triumph for the Scots, who are relieved to retain a fighting chance of making it through to the knock-out stages of the competition. Like so much in life, assessing performance is a matter of perspective - and one's appetite for suspense as opposed to security. When it comes to the Christian life, Jesus taught and demonstrated that life, as we know it, is fraught with uncertainty, suffering and injustice. We are to take nothing for granted and pray only for our immediate requirements, being prepared to share everything with those in need and to risk everything in the service of God. On the other hand, he promises that those who commit and stay the course will inherit eternal life, that is to say: life in all abundance - forever!

This presents us with a choice: ignore Jesus's call for the sake of an easy life (if we're lucky) or take up the challenge of discipleship. A word of caution: our motive for following Jesus needs to be more than the hope of eternal life. Not only is that selfish but it risks developing a mindset in which we are so focussed on the future that we fail to embrace the present. The secret of Christian faithfulness is that mixture of trust and obedience to Christ that is borne of recognising that he offers the best way to live life according to the Maker's instructions and that is surely the road to the meaning and purpose for which we are yearn? It will stretch us but in so doing we shall develop self-knowledge and gifts we never realised. As the natural world around us will confirm, flourishing occurs through the essential balance of nurture and adversity.



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