Lose Your Life
I have chosen the gospel of Luke Chapter 9 beginning with verse 23 as my area of discussion. I would not say that it gave me the most comfort or trouble but it was an intriguing message that for days upon end, when I began the reading of the Word, that after coming across this section of the Gospel, I had some difficulty trying to dig deep into my thought process to understand it.
The words used here continued to work into my mind as I reviewed this portion of the Scripture many times over. (V23) "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." How was I supposed to deny myself as I desperately wanted to pick up my cross and follow him? What was it that he was asking me to do and how was I to go about this?
As if that verse was not enough to cause confusion in my newly born again thought process, the next totally took me by storm. (V24) For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. First I was to deny myself and now I was to lose my life! Days and days went by as I read many different books on various topics and each time I researched this area of discussion the words kept coming back to me "lose your life." So I pressed on in my reading and find the succeeding verse 25 to say " For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"
Now the renovation has begun.
Three verses that have spoken to me in a way that had me wanting, confused and poised to seek the answer. I desperately wanted to follow Jesus, and very much confused about how I was to lose my life to do so, but ready to carry the cross at the expense of the whole world.
I think it all comes down to verse 24 and the process of losing my life. When this is accomplished and the life I once lived has been given up and considered deceased, the other two verses fall in place. I was to allow Jesus to take control of my life, to follow him and let him direct my path. To give my life to him and pick up my cross on a daily basis! Once I was able to let him oversee and talk to me in the manner that I before hand was not receptive too, my old life was lost. I had succeeded in "losing my life" for his sake just as his words had directed me to do! Many times I am without a doubt that there are fellow brother and sisters out there that still have a problem with this passage and truly understanding it.
They, as I once had, never fully understood the meaning behind the verse therefore could not put it into practice in our everyday lives. It may take several readings of different translations before it sinks deep into the mind, but once it secures itself into the mindset of someone desperately trying to cope with "losing one's life" the transformation takes over and a beautiful new creation emerges. The creation takes on the very life of Jesus, replaces the old heart with a new and renewed heart, sees life through the eyes of our Lord and Savior and is at peace throughout knowing that this new life is the life that he wants you to live. Lift up the cross high and walk with him, talk with him and become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Yes, lose the life of the past and gain much more.
I would like to also include a Psalm I read today that has a related meaning to what we are talking about. It's gives new meaning to the verse 25 about "gaining the whole world."
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee.
When one can not only follow the words and direction of the message in Luke, there truly is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee.
Rev. William McLeish
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