I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
“My life is not my own!” This was one of my mom’s favorite sayings when I was growing up, and it contained two distinct and different levels of truth that she was teaching us kids. On the surface, she was speaking of the incessant demands of running the household and raising five children. But Mom was also teaching us a far deeper message, because she loved Jesus and she understood that her life was not her own; no, her life belonged to Jesus to do what He wanted with it.
One of the best descriptions of this biblical truth is delivered in the Heidelberg Catechism, which was written in 1563. The Catechism was originally intended to be taught on each Sunday of the year, so the questions and answers are organized around 52 Lord’s Days. The very first question cuts right to the heart of the reality that my mother understood so well:
Lord’s Day 1
Q: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A: That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
My mom knew that there is no greater comfort in life and death than to know that her life was not her own. She knew that she had been purchased by Jesus at the cost of His precious blood, which He shed on the cross for the forgiveness of her sins – all of her sins. She also knew that her Lord and Savior was in complete control of everything in the universe, including everything in her life — every bit of it — and He was working all of it together for her ultimate good. Mom loved us best by loving Jesus most and living for His glory alone.
Do you and I live that way?
Regardless of where this message finds you today, let me encourage you to embrace my mom’s favorite saying: “My life is not my own.” When you do that, you will experience the freedom and joy of living wholeheartedly for the glory of God and the good of others. This is living in a way that truly testifies to the Good News of God’s grace — not just daily, but moment by moment.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!