For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
Having grown up in the church, I generally hear interpretations of this passage in terms of martyrdom — being willing to die for Jesus’ sake; putting my physical life on the line and actually dying in the line of duty. However, the previous verse talks about denying self and following Him daily. That involves LIVING for Him, not dying a physical death.
Therefore, “losing” cannot only mean physical death or giving up or sacrificing something precious to me that I would rather keep or hold onto, “save.” “Losing” can also mean surrendering–allowing GOD to rescue, redeem and make new a dysfunctional old life; abandoning past failures and not parking my brain there constantly. Even with the good intentions of avoiding past mistakes, if I am continually thinking on what NOT to do and how to avoid a repeat, I am letting the past control my present peace.
If I try to “save” that old life and let it still color my present thinking, feelings and choices, I shall lose out on any kind of real life, past or present. I trap myself in woulda, coulda, shoulda even though I can’t go back and change anything nor can I move forward. I trap myself in a futile wasteland and make myself useless for GOD.
On the other hand, if I set my thoughts and feelings and base my choices on the new and present Truth of what GOD is doing in me NOW and park my brain on doing the right thing today, instead of just avoiding the wrong thing, I declaw the power of the old to rob me of GOD’s present blessing and the full enjoyment of what He is trying to do for me to release, redeem and — not exactly “restore” because I don’t want the old back– but transform and make better. I open myself up to the true power of His rescue and the True Life that He desperately desires to bring me.
If I truly believe I “lost” my old life, as in GOD delivered me from dysfunction and heartache because of the spiritual revival He has been doing in me and the scorn, disdain and derision of certain others for my choice to set my sights on Him and do right in the sight of the LORD, then I can’t keep rehearsing all the “what not to dos” in my head and letting it still hang around and live with me. If I do that, I am missing out on the new GOD is trying to do. Missing the “saving” part. If I live in constant fear of being ambushed by my past, I am trying to save all the hurt and let it define my now and losing out on the goodness and newness of my salvation. I am allowing the enemy to steal my joy in Him, the rest and peace that He gives.
I will truly save my life when I let go of (lose) the false comfort of familiar dysfunction, past regrets and sorrows, because my desire is to follow HIM completely without those distractions and barriers and to fix my mind, emotion and thought patterns on the “next right thing” as Lysa TerKeurst says. Saving involves filling the void of what has been removed with positive and purposeful steps to follow GOD every second, every minute, every hour of everyday. Then I have hope and life now AND in the future because then I am useful for GOD’s kingdom and headed for His eternal rewards.
So bottom line: Don’t look back and meditate on what was — look forward to the new patterns He is creating for a new life fully honoring to Him.
Thank You for showing me Your Truth and how my perception gets twisted, bent and broken when I am not paying attention to realize it nor intentionally allow it to skew or deviate from Your path. Help me to park my brain and feelings in the new now and not get immobilized by past regrets and avoidance instead of proactively seeking Your highest good and perspective. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will go with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard that which He has entrusted to me until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12