In a culture that puts so much emphasis on self-image, self-worth, self-love, and self-esteem, the words of Jesus in Matthew 10 don’t go over well. He said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it” (verse 39 NLT).
Jesus was saying, “Do you want to find yourself? Then lose yourself.”
In Luke’s Gospel He said something similar: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 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” (Luke 9:23–24 NLT).
Statements like these don’t play well in our society. And we’ve even brought that thinking into the church.
We hear preachers say, as though it were gospel truth, that we need self-esteem. And we are told that we need to love ourselves. People will cite Scripture, saying, “You know, the Bible tells you to love your neighbor as yourself. But before you can love your neighbor, you must love yourself. And our problem is that we don’t love ourselves.”
But is that true? Maybe the problem in our society is not that we fail to love ourselves but that we love ourselves too much. We already do love ourselves. That’s obvious. It’s an established fact. Therefore, the Bible is telling us to love our neighbors in the same way that we love ourselves.
Remember, the apostle Paul wrote, “No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church” (Ephesians 5:29 NLT).
How often have we heard the statement “I’m trying to find myself”?
However, Jesus said, “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.”
This simply means that we take our plans, our goals, and our aspirations and we place them at the feet of Jesus Christ. Then we say, “I want Your will more than mine. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, be done.”
Don’t ever be afraid to pray that, because God says, “For I know the plans I have for you. . . . They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).
God is thinking about you, and His thoughts are very good. They’re about your future, and they’re thoughts of giving you hope. He is not against you. Therefore, when you come to the Lord, say, “Here are my plans. But if You have something different in mind, I surrender to You, because You know best.”
God wants us to love Him more than anyone else. He wants us to want His will more than anyone else’s will. And what God does in our lives will be better than what we ever could have done on our own.
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