“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Every December, many people choose a ‘word of the year’ for the New Year. Words like “believe” or “rest” are often selected to serve as both a guidepost and an anchor in the year ahead.
Well, I had trouble narrowing it down.
I don’t have one word for 2022.
I have six: Lose my life for His sake.
I want these six words to constantly pop up in my mind next year. When I’m squeezed by stress, I want this phrase to gush from the depths of my soul. If my body is pierced by pain, I want to bleed this Biblical truth. Wherever I go, I want to carry these words with me:
- In Marriage – Lose my life for His sake
- In Parenting – Lose my life for His sake
- In Social Interactions – Lose my life for His sake
- At Work – Lose my life for His sake
- Facing Temptation – Lose my life for His sake
And so forth and so on…
These six words flow out of today’s verse found in Matthew 16:25. Jesus lays out the cost, in no uncertain terms, of what it means to truly follow Him. Having just predicted His own death and resurrection, He tells His disciples to “deny themselves and take up their cross” (Matthew 16:24).
Apparently, following Jesus means way more than just liking His teaching or possessing certain moral values.
Following Jesus means total commitment, even to the point of death.
Jesus issues His disciples (and us) two options: Save our lives or Surrender our lives.
Notice, according to Jesus, there is no middle ground.
If we choose to “save” (hold onto control) of our lives, we ultimately fail to experience abundant life on earth and we forfeit eternity with God.
On the contrary, if we surrender or “lose” our lives, we discover life as it’s meant to be lived: a life with Jesus both now and forevermore.
When we first make the decision to follow Jesus, we are choosing to surrender our lives to Him. But to live it out, it’s a continuous choice we must make moment-by-moment every day.
And, truth be told, it’s anything but easy.
Surrendering control goes against every inclination of our selfish hearts. As author Eugene Peterson says, “the kingdom of self is heavily defended territory.” Losing our lives, in other words, doesn’t happen without an internal fight.
But is the fight worth it?
Better stated, is He worth it?
The ongoing motivation for losing our lives is found in a Person, not merely an idea or a cause (though it’s a noble cause indeed). Put differently, we lose our lives for Jesus’ sake – for who He is, what He’s done, and His purposes on earth.
The more we cherish Jesus and His great sacrifice on our behalf, the more compelled we are to surrender control of our lives.
So, I invite you to join me.
Let six powerful words radically transform your 2022: Lose your life for His sake.
A year from now, you’ll be glad you made the choice.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director. RFTH