“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25 NASB
We think much too highly of ourselves in contemporary Christian culture throughout western civilization. Too many religious people in said culture would cite their church attendance, the highlights in their Bible, and the number of Christian CDs and T-shirts that they own when asked of how they know whether or not they’re a “good” Christian.
I like underlining Scripture, too, and I like listening to music that glorifies God. None of these things are bad in and of themselves – not at all. But we have lost what it means to love and believe in the One True Living God when we think that we have more of a duty to follow our Bible reading plans than we do to sacrifice everything we have and everything we are to Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t take long after conversion to realize that truly living for Christ is hard. It’s really hard. This is something people don’t usually like to mention during evangelism, because we “win” more people by presenting Christianity as an eternal cake walk or a ticket out of eternal damnation. Jesus says otherwise: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27 NASB).
Obviously Christ isn’t advocating hatred as we typically understand the term, because God does not contradict Himself (see 1 John 3:15). To hate someone as this passage states is to “love less than” something else by comparison; and to truly be a disciple of Christ is to love Him more than you love anyone or anything else. Even more than your own life.
Are we actually prepared to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1) in every sense of the phrase? Do we see life from the perspective of a humble steward? The extent to which we are willing to sacrifice our comfort, our plans, or our very lives for the sake of glorifying God is very telling of the extent of our faith in Him.
Lord, if there be anything in me that balks at the thought of sacrificing everything and anything for You, please correct it. Everything that I am and have is Yours. I am only a steward, and I want to become an obedient one. Help me to know You and love You more than anything else in my life, including that life itself.
What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for the sake of your faith and the glory of God? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up? What does it mean that when we let go of our life for Christ’s sake, then we actually find it?