Matthew 10:39: Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Mathew 16:25: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Mark 8:35: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Luke 9:24: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
John 12:25: Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
What are you willing to surrender to God? We read in all four Gospels (twice in Matthew) the call to "lose our life" – and in John even to hate our worldly life. What does it really mean to lose our lives for Jesus’ sake?
In Matthew’s Gospel, we read this command two times. In the first account Matthew is making it clear that a choice must be made as a follower of Christ. Later in chapter 16, Jesus is responding to Peter’s declaration of loyalty by calling him and others toward a path of self-sacrifice and self-denial. In Mark’s version (probably the first account written down) Jesus speaks of "denying self and taking up the cross" to follow Him. Luke goes on with a pointed question, asking, "What good is it for one to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" Finally, John’s account cuts to the heart - inviting us to choose between loving Jesus and hating the things of this world.
Each of the four Gospel’s nuance Jesus’ words uniquely, yet they are aligned in the call to surrender. Surrender this life to experience new birth in Christ. This is our call. When anyone asks me what the greatest characteristic of Christianity is, I always answer, "Surrender!"
Surrender is easier said than done. Even Jesus had a moment where doubt began to creep in as he prayed to his Father.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
We see Jesus' vulnerability before the Father in this heartfelt and passionate prayer, displaying the struggle of personal will. I imagine Jesus feeling the weight of every one of our lives upon his shoulders in that moment. And then, he rises with a mission. I’m reminded of the famed preacher Dr. S.M. Lockridge, who proclaimed, “That’s My King!”
We serve the King of Kings, who leads not from a worldly throne, but from a place of sacrifice and humility. God's power is demonstrated in the resurrection and, as Pastor Adam will share in this April’s Easter services, “We not only believe this, we are counting on it!”
When I feel meek, or doubtful, of self-consumed, I turn to Luke 22 and read again of Jesus’ moment of surrender. This moment gives me strength to surrender my own will to God's, so that when a call to serve comes, I am ready and willing to give all of myself to it, which includes my passion, my time, my gifts, and my resources. There is no greater investment I can make in this world. And in doing so, I will lose my life to this world, to experience the saving grace of Jesus Christ, which is free and available to all who would receive it!.
And that is something to be grateful for!
– Pastor Jason Gant