A Life Not Mine

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3

In 1956 five missionaries were killed on the banks of the Curaray River in Ecuador. They were mutilated and murdered by 10 men from a tribe of natives they were trying to introduce to the gospel. Many are familiar with the deaths of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian. These five men established contact with a couple natives. A few days later they were attacked and killed because one man in the tribe was jealous and had reported lies about the men.

The great sacrifice of the men and their families was reported all over the world, making the front pages of magazines and newspapers, sparking renewed interest in missionary work, stirring hundreds of believers to go into foreign lands with the gospel and eventually leading to the conversion of many in that original tribe of natives. Much has been said and written about these men, but one phrase that has stood out over the decades was found in Jim Elliot’s journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot’s powerful statement flowed out of a life that was completely committed to Christ. Elliot lived with Christ as the single driving passion in everything. He also wrote in one of his journals, “Father take my life, yes, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire. I would not save it, for it is not mine to save. Have it, Lord, have it all.”

A mindset like that possessed by these men is not natural. Such a mindset is incomprehensible to many, even Christians. However, the Pauline logic of the book of Colossians is irresistible. Because Jesus is the all sufficient Savior who gives to Christians every resource needed for life and godliness the passions of Christians must be exhausted on heavenly things. Since Christians are risen with Jesus the life and love of those in Christ must be on those things which have their substance where the believers life resides. The Christian must hold loosely to the things of this earth so he can hold firmly to the things of heaven.