Hold Your Horse and Enjoy Your Eternal Life Now!

Are you joyful this morning? Jesus expects us to live our lives in complete joy. That’s the outcome he expects from us. He said,

“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11).

The question is, how do we maintain this complete joy living in this fallen world where the killjoys constantly attack us?

Recently, I got a negative comment on my YouTube channel, severely hurting my ego. Few people watch my sermons on YouTube. I don’t mind because I prepare my sermons to feed my congregation, and as long as my sheep feel fed, I am satisfied.

I posted my sermons on social media to share the good news, hoping someone who needed that message would find it helpful.

So, I was excited when I saw a couple of comments, but they were very negative. This man posted twice, saying, “Shame on you, Sam Stone. Shame on you!”

I wondered, “What did I say wrong?” I panicked and wanted to fight back, so I read his comments carefully. It turned out that he didn’t even listen to the entire sermon. He was spewing unfair criticisms that were utterly irrelevant to my message.

Before I responded, I tried to track him down to find out who he was. It turned out to be a pastor and somewhat high profile. He was arrested in a foreign country, presumably for his faith, and our government paid a high price to get him released and brought him back. Sounds like a hero!? I was more concerned to be criticized by people like that.

However, I found more news about him. He was arrested for abusing his wife. Wow, oh, wow! The more I dug, the more I discovered he was pretty deranged. The shame is on him, not on me! I felt pity for him. Responding to his comments would be a waste of time. I’ve discovered long ago people with low self-esteem tend to be critical, but my ego didn’t allow me to swallow it.

The lesson I learned from this is never to let negativity from anyone or anything affect your joy. Don’t react to other people’s reactivity if you want to maintain your profou happiness. The question is, how not to react? How to hold your horse?

A better question is, “What makes us react?” If you know what makes you react, you know how to hold your horse. The only reason we want to react is when our ego gets hurt. We must crucify the ego first to live our eternal life with complete joy.

So, today, we will look at how Jesus taught us to hold our horses from reacting to the killjoys and live the eternal life that he offers us so that we can attain and maintain the complete joy he expects us to live based on this week’s scripture lesson. Let’s begin!

[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper—you are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you and you are satisfied in God.]

The Scripture lesson for today, the Fourth Sunday in Lent, is from the Gospel According to John 12:20-33. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.

31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. (Jn 12:20–33).

[Blessed are those who delight in God’s word. Thanks be to God!]

The last two verses indicate that Jesus knew what he wanted to die for and even knew how he would die. He said he would be lifted up from the earth. What does it mean? Jesus had said something similar previously,

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:14–15).

When the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus from Egypt, they complained about the quality of food God provided them—manna and quails. They had forgotten their hardship and slavery in Egypt but only remembered the better food they had back then. It seems poor food is worse than slavery for them. The Bible said,

The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” (Nu 21:5).

God was disappointed at their slave mindset, unappreciative of freedom to fulfill God’s plan to bless the world as Abraham’s descendants. So God sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them died of snakebite. “Why snakes?” you might wonder.

The snakes reminded them of the Fall in Genesis, where humans became slaves to the devil who came to them as a serpent. The devil is a personification of self-centeredness or egocentricity.

In other words, God sent the snakes to remind them that their egos were killing them. If they wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt in exchange for better food, they were as good as death. The Israelites repented and asked God to forgive their sins.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. (Nu 21:8–9).

In other words, if you want to live, crucify the ego. Today, you see this sign of a snake wrapped around a stick as a symbol of healthcare and hospitals. That’s where that symbol came from.

This is what Jesus meant when he said he would be lifted up on the cross, just as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on the pole as the symbol of forgiveness, grace, healing, and salvation.

Jesus died for our sin of egocentricity, which makes us react to other people’s reactivity and unable to live a joyful life. Jesus said,

“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.” (Jn 12:31).

The ruler of this world is Satan, who rules our ego and makes us miserable. The word Satan (Saataan) is a Hebrew gerund, a noun form of a verb, meaning “to entice” or “to be adversarial.” It’s more of a behavior rather than a creature.

It spouts negativity and has no sense of humor. It is a killjoy and a liar. So don’t look for Satan out there because it’s inside us, and it manifests in our behaviors. Jesus said to the religious leaders,

You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jn 8:44).

In this discourse, the religious leaders argue that they were Abraham’s children and God’s children, but Jesus said they were not God’s children. They were the devil’s children. Why would Jesus say that to the Jews, who were Abraham’s children? It’s not about their lineage but about their behaviors. So, Satan is a murderous and lying behavior.

Now, they are murdering Jesus, but by murdering an innocent man, they murder themselves. The cross exposed Satan’s evil, usually manifesting in the power that be. Power doesn’t corrupt people without ego. Power corrupts people with ego.

This passage begins with some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus. That means Jesus’ fame has reached beyond the Jews. Jesus could have escaped the crucifixion by moving to Athens and preaching to the inquisitive Greeks who valued wisdom.

The Greeks might put him on a pedestal and enthrone him as another Greek god. Fame is an attractive temptation to the ego. Jesus chose to go to the cross because it was his calling. He said,

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (Jn 12:23).

Glorification is when you fulfill God’s will, not your ego’s. We have three stages of salvation: Justification, sanctification, and Glorification. Glorification is when we fulfill the divine purpose. Then he said,

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (Jn 12:24).

These verses have double meanings. It talks about Jesus himself and about us. We are Jesus’ fruit because of his death. We are no longer children of Satan but children of God. He said his death is not for him but for us. That means we must let our ego be crucified with him to be fruitful.

Jesus has judged the ruler of our ego and set us free, so we are no longer slaves to the ruler of our ego. However, we must let our ego be crucified with him and live the eternal life he gave us. He continued,

“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Jn 12:25).

It sounds like a riddle if we don’t differentiate the two different lives. If we love our temporal life, we will lose eternal life. If we hate our temporal life, we will keep our eternal life. Again, our temporal life is the ego-driven life, and our eternal life is the God-given life. We must lose one to get one.

How to live a God-given life? Then, Jesus said,

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. (Jn 12:26).

The God-given life is a life of service. Being a servant requires a lot of humility. You can’t keep your ego and serve. Those who serve with ego intact are self-serving, like Judas. Jesus taught us how to serve by washing his disciple’s feet. A servant is without honor on earth, but they are honored by God. That’s what matters!

Still, it’s not easy to serve because even when you don’t have an ego, there are so many egos out there to trample over you. Egoless people are a threat to ego-driven people. Sometimes, service and suffering go together. Jesus said,

“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (Jn 12:27–28).

The Greeks might be waiting there to rescue him and take him to Greece. However, he had overcome the temptation for fame and fortune in his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. So, he chose to glorify God’s name.

Here, Jesus also revealed that living your eternal life in this fallen world may sound simple, but not easy. Service sounds nice when we receive awards and accolades for our service. But the ruler of our ego is still on the loose to persecute Jesus’ servants.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus wants us to rejoice in persecution because we are doing the right thing when we make the devil angry. Rejoicing in persecution requires some spiritual maturity and discipline. The Apostle Peter gave us some practical advice,

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pe 5:8).

To be egoless is not for the sissies. It requires courage. It’s harder when you are hurt by Christians, like that guy who left those comments. When the devil comes in sheepskin, it hurts more.

We can imagine how Jesus felt when he was crucified by the religious leaders, his own people. Then Peter said,

“Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.” (1 Pe 5:9).

Peter reminded you that you are not alone. When I was about to react to the negative comments, I learned from other YouTubers that they also got a lot of negative comments. The point is you are not alone in this fallen world. Peter continued,

“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Pe 5:10).

Peter said the suffering only lasts for a little while. It seems like forever when we are suffering, but even a hundred years on earth feels like a blink of an eye if we have the eternal perspective. Then, Peter assured us that God would restore our honor. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

So, here are three strategies to resist the ruler of ego:

  1. Know that you are not alone
  2. Know that it’s temporary
  3. Know that God will honor you

So, whenever someone or something tries to kill your joy, don’t give in by reacting verbally, emotionally, or physically. God said, “Vengeance is mine!” So let go and let God. So, rejoice always, don’t lose your sense of humor, hold your horse, live your eternal life now, and bask in complete joy!

That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound freedom, purpose, and happiness.


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