For whoseoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoseoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:25-26
All four gospels agree that if we love our life above loving Jesus we will lose our life. If we will lose our life for Jesus we will find our life.
This concept crops up in my life from time to time. It used to really frighten me. I couldn’t envision what my life in Christ would look like when I found it. Was I going to have to deny myself everything or else my life wasn’t lost in Christ? Was life in Christ one demanding, selfless act of putting someone before myself every waking moment?
I find I am making peace with these scriptures by seeing them in light of short term sacrifices for long term gains. That is another concept that keeps cropping up in my life. Going to school at night for an advanced degree; short term sacrifice. Moving up the pay scale and being qualified to do multiple jobs, increasing the likelihood of employment; long term gain. I believe God asks us to make mundane, every day sacrifices of our lives, it isn’t always a big thing to be noticed by all but He works in us what His plan is for our lives.
When I am unsure of myself, or feel like I don’t know if I am going in the right direction, or wake up feeling sorry for myself; I could fall back on my own wisdom and try to soothe myself with friends, busyness, music, movies, even food. Or I can choose instead to stand in faith believing God does have a purpose and a plan for me. I can choose to wash my mind with the Word even if it means reading a scripture every five minutes, especially the one about the fruit of the Spirit. Losing my life in Christ is turning myself to Him in all things.
A lot of times we don’t want to make the short term sacrifice. We don’t want to have to practice an instrument, we want to just pick it up and play it perfectly. We don’t want to swallow our words, we want to give way and let our flesh soar. We don’t want to have to go to school and study for a degree/credential/license, we just want that good paying job with unlimited time off to be with our family. After all, we are God’s children, heirs with Christ! Sometimes there is a reason when things don’t go our way.
Short term sacrifice. Surrendering my life. If I am not willing to lose my life in Christ will I see the long term benefit of His will in my life? Probably not. If I refuse and say the price is too high, I won’t pay it, will God’s will still be done? Yes, but maybe not through me. Maybe He’ll invite someone more compliant and I will miss out.
Long term benefit. Eternal life in Christ. This isn’t just about here and now. Maybe I will lose my life in Christ and my life will look a lot different than what I had planned. But it will be a blessed life. I will have all of eternity with Christ at the end of it all.