Summary: A look at Jesus' difficult (and frequently ignored) teaching that "whoever lose his life for me will find it." What does that mean? What does it look like to live that out?
WHAT DOES "LOSE YOUR LIFE TO FIND IT" MEAN ANYWAY? It means to pursue Jesus’ path even at the expense of my desires.
- This is a foreign concept to many Christians. In the American church we largely ignore this teaching. I don’t recall hearing a lot of sermons down through the years on it.
- I feel like we have to explain the idea itself before we can move on.
- The idea is something like this: there are a bundle of desires that fill up my heart – a whole host of things that I want.
- Career issues: “I want to be a doctor.” “I want to be a model.”
- Media choices: “I want to watch that new Seth MacFarlane show.” “I want to listen to that new Train CD.”
- Life choices: “I want to marry Isabella.” “I want to move to South Carolina.”
- Sex choices: “I want to sleep with my girlfriend.” “I want to watch porn.”
- Emotional choices: “I am at peace over this decision.” “I am worried about my job security.”
- Religious choices: “I like what Buddha has to say.” “I believe in heaven but I don’t like the idea of hell.”
- And on and on.
- Some of the things I’ve listed above might be good choices that God would endorse. Others might be things that we really want but God says no to.
- But the big decision is to acknowledge that I’m going to trust Jesus’ wisdom over my wisdom. I am going to pursue His path over the path one that I might want to right now.
- We’re holding what we want in one hand and what God instructs in the other. “Losing your life” means committing to pursuing what God instructs when there is a conflict between the two choices.
- Now, let me acknowledge that sometimes the two will be in unity. What I want to do and what God instructs me to do are in harmony. Those are easy choices to make. But when they’re not in harmony, God has the final say.
- This is a foreign idea to the American mind.
- We say that you have to follow your dreams. We say that you have to listen to your heart. We say that you have to love yourself first.
- All of those are lies.
- Jesus says that we are to deny ourselves and be willing to lose our life.
- This is radical. It’s also Jesus repeated a lot. It’s in all four gospels – in two of them it’s in there twice.
- Do the math: my desires < Jesus’ teaching.
- We shift from “The most important thing is figuring out what you want” to “The most important thing is figuring out where God is leading.”
WHY WOULD JESUS ASK THAT? Because Jesus’ path is not a one-degree course correction, but a 180-degree change.
- Too many people think of what Jesus taught as being “be a nice person.” If that’s true, then all that’s expected of us is to just keep doing what we’ve been doing, but just be a little easier to get along with.