Whoever Wishes to Save His Life Will Lose It

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For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25

What a strange message this is to our ears. We must lose our life to find it? Some might think Jesus is playing word games with us here. But Jesus is not playing with us. He is quite serious. What does he mean then? The answer is tied up in the little phrase, “for my sake.”

The rest of the sentence, without those three words, could truly be taken as strange. As individual Christians, we must go to prayer with Jesus to find out what it is that we, personally, must “lose” for his sake. What earthly desires or dreams have we held on to for “dear life” thinking that they would be the answers to our quest for earthly happiness? What have we made important in our lives? Have these things made us better, drawn us closer to God, or to something far less valuable?

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If we discover that those earthly desires, or dreams, have caused us to take our eyes off of Jesus and his narrow path, then that is what we must lose for his sake. When we lose our false desires, for Jesus’ sake, and begin to live for Him, then, and only then, will we find our lives, both abundant and meaningful. When we finally “find our lives” in Christ, we will find ourselves more full and more satisfied than anything the world could ever give us. If we desire God above all things, all the things of the earth will finally be seen as nothing, in the light of Christ. We will happily lose our foolish desires to be one with Jesus. In losing our “false” lives for Jesus’ sake, we will find our real lives. In “letting go” of the old ways that have kept us lost in a fool’s paradise, we will finally see who we really are in the eyes of God, and we will be on our way “home”.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.