If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. – Matthew 16:25
Jesus dialogued with his followers about the cost of being his disciple, or student. Peter had just told him that the coming judgment, torture, and murder wouldn’t happen, but Jesus addressed satan, speaking through Peter, with the words, Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s. It was hard for the apostles to grasp the concept of Jesus dying and coming back to life three days later. They had spent the last three years plus with him, and his soon-to-be departure from life was unnerving them a bit. Jesus defined for them the meaning of being his disciple – it cost them everything.
What does the world have to offer you that is more precious than your own soul? Jesus poses the question for us, If you gain the whole world and lose your own soul, what’s it worth to you? Is there nothing more precious than your own soul? But many people just don’t get it. They live life seeking out their own desires and do everything they can (hint hint) to preserve it rather than trusting in Jesus and receiving eternal life from him.
What people don’t get is that their efforts to make life happen in pursuit of their own desires and ambitions will cost them eternal life because they will pursue pleasure over submission to God. Jesus tells us that giving up our desires and ambitions for the life he has for us will get us eternal life. His statement also tells us that should we lose our life literally in service to him, then we will receive eternal life also. It’s a two-fold statement.
Pursuing earthly life means you are going after what the world has to offer instead of seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. The promise of seeking God first is that he will provide us with all the basic necessities of life and not have to worry about the cares of life or what lies ahead tomorrow. Why? Because today is enough with which we have to concern ourselves. Tomorrow will take care of itself in due time, should it even come. Trying to preserve one’s own life means that person doesn’t trust in God enough to supply their need despite the fact that Jesus tells us through Paul that he will supply all our need according to his riches in glory.
Do we really trust God to stand by his word/promises? If we do, then why do we try so hard and spend so much time trying to make life happen? Worrying about what we can’t control? Being anxious for nothing? We need to learn that if we lose our lives for Jesus’ sake, then we save it by his doing. Is what the world has to offer worth losing your life and eternity? Do you want eternal separation from God? Do you want to spend eternity in torment in hell where the flames never goes out and flesh-eating worms never die? Remember, those who go to hell will not die but rather will have an eternal body that will feel the suffering torment of the heat and worms! The choice is yours to make. God has called many, chosen few, and awaits the faithful.
Father, thank you for the love you’ve shown me. There is nothing worth losing my life in eternity with you in this world. You sent Jesus to pay the ransom due for the spiritual crimes I committed and may commit. I don’t want to try and save my life, for I know that salvation can come through no other than Jesus. He is the way to you, and we can be saved by no other name but Jesus! I have had the good life and thought it well worth it, but I have learned that things don’t make life nor can they save it. I cannot add one inch to my height, heal my illness or disease, nor can I save myself. The world paints a pretty picture trying to entice me to step aside from the path you’ve set before me in order to trip me up. The enemy wants nothing less than for me to fall and bail on you. He tries to tell me that things, people, and grandiose ideas are what make life worth the living, but it is written, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto to you. For what is life? Isn’t it more than food, clothing, and shelter? Of course! Life is having a personal, intimate relationship with you, which the world has nothing to come close to that. I praise you for saving me when I couldn’t save myself. The world’s trappings mean nothing to me. I know you’re my source and provision. You are life, and give it to me in abundance because I’ve chosen to lay my life down for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.