Losing your life to find it
A common source of anxiety today is uneasiness over whether one is making the most of his or her life. With every choice we make, there’s an opportunity cost. To choose option “A” is not only a decision to do “A,” but it’s also a decision not to do “B.”
For everyone of us, there is a road not traveled. Actually, many roads. And it’s these untraveled paths that have many wondering whether they’re missing something in their lives.
When Jesus ministered on this earth, he was well aware of the human desire to make the most of all this world has to offer. Because of this awareness, He addressed it squarely to all who would be His disciples.
Although He spoke in a paradox, His words were not hard to understand when He said, “Whoever wishes to save His life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Mt.16:25).
There are a number of things to notice about what Jesus says here.
First, He recognizes the human inclination toward self-preservation. People normally want to save themselves. Not only do they want to keep living, but they want to do so on their own terms.
Jesus acknowledges this, and then gives a shocking statement. He says that, “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it. . .” In other words, whoever seeks to design his own life apart from Him will end up missing God’s design for his life — both now and eternity.
But Jesus also gives an alternative option, a better path. . .”whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
With this Jesus gives the key to living your perfect life — the life you are best suited to live according to God’s eternal plan. Lose your life to Him, and you will discover God’s best place for you.
Typically, people will respond to such an idea with a certain amount of skepticism. There is a fear that if one really loses his life to the Lord, He will ruin it.
But this fear fails to take into account a certain truth. Jesus Christ came not to destroy lives, but reclaim them. And He came that we might have life abundantly (Jn. 10:10).
To fear what Christ may do if we surrender our ourselves to Him also ignores something else. . . He warns us that choosing worldly desires over His way of life is a losing proposition.
“For what will a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Mt.16:26).
The enticements and pressures of this world lead us to believe that if we are going to make the most of our lives, we must manage them according to our own understanding. But the admonition of the Bible is that we are not to lean on our own understanding, but to acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight (Pr.3:5,6).
The willingness of Jesus Christ to lay down His life for His people — and His resurrection from the dead — gives us the assurance that these words are true.