Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Are you set in your ways? Do you have a specific and repetitive way of doing things?
When I was younger, I vowed never to be so predictable as my grandparents. We didn’t need a clock. I always knew what time it was by their daily routine.
If I smelled bacon or sausage cooking, it was 5 o’clock in the morning. Lunch was served promptly at 11 and served on TV trays in the living room. From there my grandmother could watch her soap operas. Supper was at 4, intentionally early so granddaddy could slop the hogs and feed his cattle before settling down for the Huntley-Brinkley Report. Then at 10, my grandmother said the words that caused my skin to crawl. “Climb the golden stairs.” The following day, rinse and repeat.
No way I would let that happen to me. Oh, but I was wrong. Pity the poor soul who attempts to sit in my recliner. In fact, I’m in it now, doing what I do at this time every day — writing. At supper time, I’ll return to my chair with my dinner plate in one hand and the TV remote in the other. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll repeat the process.
If you’ve been around the block more than a few times, then chances are you’re locked into a routine and have no intention of making changes.
One of the first lessons I learned as a pastor is that most people don’t like change, especially the older saints. We’re like a dog settling into his pet bed circling and pawing until everything is just the way he likes it.
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with being set in your ways UNLESS it keeps you from salvation in Christ.
Jesus declared, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it.” No matter how much you like the way things are, they will not stay that way. In time, your life will change, so it’s better to turn loose of your favored sinful ways now than lose your opportunity for eternal life with the Lord.
People often put the wrong emphasis on what is involved in embracing Christianity. They’re concerned about what they’ll have to give up. But they miss the point that following Christ is not about what you give up but what you get.
One correct observation made by many lost people is that there is no way they could follow all of God’s rules. But neither can Christians, at least not by our own effort. God doesn’t just save you, He equips you and empowers you to live the life that was previously impossible.
Also in our focus text, Jesus makes a curious statement. “… anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Earlier, I was talking about how we fashion our lives to our liking. We grow into the routine that makes us comfortable and happy. But Jesus said we should “hate” our lives in this world. Did He mean we aren’t supposed to be happy in this earthly existence?
Jesus’ use of hate covers the beliefs, biases, and sinful thoughts and deeds to which we have sworn allegiance. There’s plentiful instruction in the Bible to indicate that God wants us to be happy. But don’t be so happy in your way of living you reject Christ and His good news.
In reality, we should hate anything that keeps us from surrendering to Christ. Paul said, “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) Don’t let the temporary evil pleasures of this life keep you from the incomparable rewards of eternal life.
Jesus also said, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) He wasn’t being cruel or unreasonable. People of that time had strong religious allegiances. If a child followed Christ they could be ostracized from the family.
The Lord further amplified this instruction when He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Self-denial and death to the old sinful self is imperative to following Christ.
Believing in Christ is not just intellectual assent. It’s much more than that. Saving faith requires a deep heartfelt commitment to the Lord, and all He represents. Put simply, don’t let anything keep you from eternal life with Jesus.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Do You Feel Like You Are Wasting Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.