Four ways to lose your life for Christ
Learn what it means to live a "lose your life" lifestyle.
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
It is one of the most important statements by Christ. Not only does this statement get recorded by all four writers of the gospels, it is spoken by Christ throughout his ministry. So what does it mean for us today? Let’s learn what it means to live a Lose Your Life (LYL) lifestyle.
1. Change your actions
The first LYL statement occurs at the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Christ had just delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), delivered and healed people (Matthew 8) and already come across the Pharisees (Matthew 9). Now he looked out and saw the sea of souls waiting to be harvested (Matthew 9:36-38). He called his disciples together and laid out what it took to be the harvesters (Matthew 10). They would do the same great things Christ had just done and even more. What would it take to do this?
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
Christ let them know that pursuing their own pursuits would lead to spiritual loss. However, if they gave up their life for everything Christ had laid out leading up to this verse, they would find themselves thriving in the Kingdom of God and operating as effective labourers for the cause of Christ.
We can do it, too. If we are hungry individuals hoping to be used by God and are willing to set aside our earthly and temporal goals for the spiritual purpose God has for us, great things will happen through and in us.
2. Change your mindset
The next LYL statement occurs again in the midst of great miracles, messages and mighty acts as well as run-ins with critics. In this similar scenario, Christ takes his followers aside and addresses them directly. He asks them who they think he is (Mark 8:29). While the others shy away from the question, Peter pipes up and gets a gold star proclaiming Jesus the Christ. However, he also gets admonished shortly after for trying to stop Christ (8:32). Christ saw his followers had a mindset issue and he sought to correct it. They were looking at Christ and His mission through temporal eyes rather than with a spiritual mindset. Here was Christ’s remedy for them:
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35)
Losing life now goes beyond just actions to letting what we think about life fall by the wayside in favour of what Christ and his gospel says about it. In effect, we must lose our minds and let His mind be in us (Philippians 2:5). When we do that, we'll take our LYL calling to a deeper level of Christ and His purpose both in and through us. We’ll save ourselves from our own understanding and lean on the leading of God Almighty (Proverbs 3:5), and that will bring greater results when go and laboir in the harvest.
3. Don’t give up
In the next LYL statement, we aren’t long from the culmination of Christ's earthly ministry. He is just about to begin his march to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11). As he marches to his death, he tells his followers that they too will have to sacrifice and struggle for the Kingdom of God to come alive. It wouldn’t be easy to change the hearts and minds of others:
Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. (Luke 17:33)
In this lesson of sacrifice, we see that losing our lives for Christ leads to preservation through the struggles we face in the advancement of God’s Kingdom. What a promise! Through our struggle to bring the Kingdom to others, we shall be preserved by God in this life. We may face persecution. We may be fought on all sides. However, Christ will preserve us with his infinite blessings of the Spirit. Comfort, love, mercy, grace, peace, joy and so much more will be sent our way when we sell out for God and do the hard work of the laborer. The field will not always be easy, but the yoke God gives us is.
4. Give your heart to the cause
In the setting surrounding our final LYL statement, Jesus was near the end of his earthly mission. He had raised Lazarus, been anointed for burial and entered into the city of Jerusalem a humble but conquering king in the eyes of the people (John 12:12-14). In the midst of this celebration, several Greeks came to meet with Jesus. They had heard of his miracles and wanted to see the man so many called Lord (John 12:20-21). They were expecting a demonstration of his power, but what they got was far greater than a single action. They received the hard truth of following God:
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)
Christ has literally taken us to the heart of the matter. Our actions, minds and devotion in the face of struggle are great, but God wants more. He wants our passion. We must cede the desires of our hearts to His will and ways (Psalm 37:4). It might be difficult to abandon some of our earthly desires, but when we do, we’re promised that God will preserve us all the way to eternity. Before, we saw that our lives on this earth would be protected, but now we see that the life that matters is preserved as well just by giving ourselves over to God and His ways.
Back to The Field
Christ is looking for people to give their lives for his cause. If we give our actions, mindsets, devotion in the face of struggle and passion, we’ll find ourselves fulfilled to the greatest extent. Moreover, we’ll be the kind of Christian God desires, one who is consistently growing in Him and reaching others.
Chris Farris is the founder of tWTL Ministries and author of The Way, a devotional book. Read more in the Lose Your Life series here.