I recently reviewed Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws, and while I tried to encompass as much about the book as I could, there's just no way I could cram everything I wanted to say about it into a single blog post. I promised my followers on Gab that I would delve into each of the Nine Laws individually, and so, we've come to Week One: The First Law.
The First Law is Survival
Simply put: if you're dead, you can't do much of anything. Therefore the First Rule of the Dark World is "you have to survive."
Is this in opposition to the Christian faith? Hardly. At the very core of Godly beliefs is the sanctity of life. We are created in the image of God, and so our very existence is a proclamation to the veracity and tenaciousness of life as we know it.
"But Sensei," I can hear you saying, "doesn't it also say in the Holy Word that those who lose their lives will gain it? And those who are first shall be last? Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?"
The Scripture says:
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25 (also in Luke 9:24 and Mark 8:35, emphasis mine)
Jesus very clearly says that anyone giving up their life for His sake will find it. And by "find it" Jesus didn't mean suddenly not being dead anymore. No, He means giving up your physical life for Jesus' sake means securing eternal reward. But the inverse isn't so clear: does Jesus mean if we try to save our own physical lives, we'll lose our eternal ones?
The secret is held just before this, in verses 21-24. Jesus had begun preparing His followers for the final event: His death and resurrection. Peter, thinking that Jesus was just going to willingly die physically, flies off the handle and declares that he won't let that happen.
To which Jesus replies:
But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." - Matthew 16:23
And here is where we see the crux of the problem. Peter, in his worldly thinking, was expecting some sort of worldly recompense for his troubles. He was following Jesus not for spiritual rewards, but worldly things. Jesus rebukes him for it, and rightfully so.
Jesus then continues the lesson by speaking to the other disciples:
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Matthew 16:24-26
The point of this teaching wasn't that believers should want to die: it was to show them the importance of spiritual matters over physical matters. This clearly isn't a command to let yourself be killed for no good reason.
The World is always looking for ways to kill us. Giving up our life should only happen our terms, not the World's.
In comparison to losing eternal life, your physical life is just a temporary thing. They are not equivalent. Jesus knew this, and wanted to impress on the disciples that they were focusing on the wrong thing.
Dying to self- this brings us closer to our own mortality, and allows us to draw closer to God's purpose for our lives, without our own desires getting in the way.
Physically dying- because you allowed yourself to be taken advantage of, or did something foolish- This doesn't glorify God in any way. In order to act upon God's purpose in your life, you must be alive to see it through.
What Survival Is Not
Survival is not the same thing as cowardice. One is proactive, the other is reactive.
If you want to survive, you prepare. You calculate risks and take according preventative measures. Then you go on with life, knowing that you're prepared for the inevitable trials that will come.
If you're a coward, you're driven by fear, and react to anything that could be a threat. This is fruitless and, in fact, counterproductive. Modern gutless manlets are cowards. SJW's are cowards. Progressive "cultural Christians" are cowards. They're so afraid of the risks, they don't even want to become a success themselves.
This does not glorify God, nor honor the way He made us.
I can vividly remember numerous times I faced death eye-to-eye and lived to tell about it. Sometimes it was my fault; other times it wasn't. In almost every case, it could have been prevented if I'd paid more attention to my surroundings. I'm unapologetically glad I survived, though in some cases I probably shouldn't have.
Willingly sacrificing your life to uphold your faith is a noble cause. A martyr's death is both crushing, and at the same time the highest sacrifice you can make. Giving up your physical life to defend your spiritual life isn't wrong.
Letting the Dark World steal your life from you prematurely because you failed to be prepared is not noble or respectable.
Visualize your life being forcibly taken against your will, or by you doing something foolish, and think about what that means for you. Your faith. Your family. Your legacy.
Men of old weren't afraid to die, and neither should we be- but that doesn't mean we shouldn't protect what God has given us. Letting someone kill you because you think you're respecting their life over yours doesn't honor God. They will only go on to kill again, and you will have accomplished nothing in the way of defending what is good. You are an accomplice to evil if you could have stopped them and you refused to.
I can't tell you whether you should take someone else's life in order to protect your own. But would you take a life to protect your spouse from a horrible death? What about your children? What if there was no other option? These are the difficult questions you need to ask yourself before you're placed in that position. There is no guarantee you will skate through life without flirting with death. And ultimately, everyone will have to face it, one way or another. But as I said before: it should be on your terms, not being caught by surprise.
For myself, I know what I need to work on is situational awareness. Simply paying attention would have spared me from multiple brushes with death (some of which amounted to hospitalization). I didn't value my own life enough to go through the preparations to ensure I didn't needlessly risk my life.
The First Law is Survival. And I intend to survive, so that I can follow through with God's purpose for my life.