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Choose This, Not That

Choose This! Not That! – One life to live (Matthew 10:39)

Today’s Reading: Matthew 10-11

Today’s Reflection: Matthew 10:39

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

This is one of the most elliptical, paradoxical statements Jesus makes in the Gospels.  How can finding lead to losing, while losing leads to finding?  It all has to do with the mindset of the one who seeks to gain his life versus the mindset of one who seeks to give his life away as an offering to God.

The one seeking his life is seeking for himself—his own comfort, his own gain, his own pleasure—and in so doing he loses the truth of himself: that he was made to serve others.  Both God and his fellow man.  By focusing on things he loses sight of the God who created those things, and by losing sight of the creator he loses sight of the truth that he is himself a creation of God made with Godly purpose.  Mark 8:36 shows the contrast between pursuing the world and pursuing eternal life:

Mark 8:36 – For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

But interestingly the Gospel according to Luke takes it a step further.  Losing your soul in exchange for worldly pleasures really means losing your true self.

Luke 9:25 – For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

On the other hand, the one who ‘loses’ his life (the original Greek word used here means to literally destroy or perish) gives away his own desires for the sake of his Lord, and in doing so finds the true meaning of his existence and the abundant life Jesus offers.

Philippians 1:21 – For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

There’s a reason we’re given the example of a sacrificial Lord and Saviour to follow, a man who was willing to lay down His life not for the innocent, but for the guilty.  For sinners like you and I.  This is the depths of the love that God has for us (Romans 5:8).  The love that God Himself is (1 John 4:8).  And this is what we are to model our lives after.

Have you ever done charity work, or just a good deed for a friend or neighbor, and just had a warm feeling come over you from freely giving of yourself to another, with no desire to gain for yourself?  This is just a taste of what God made you to become.

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

The choice falls to us: will we be consumed with pursuing the pleasures of this life for selfish gain, or will we surrender our own desires and submit to God’s leading in our lives?  One leads to losing the truth of who you are, the other leads to gaining that true identity both now and for eternity.

Chose This: lose your life for Jesus sake, and gain your true self forever

Not That: gain the things you think are life and lose the truth of the life God has for you.

Matthew 6:31-33 – 31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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