"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew chapter 16 verse 25.
In my life I was brought up to be a winner. I was brought up with rewards, achievement titles, recognition and status. I didn't grow up thinking to myself, "I want to be a loser in everything and anything I do".
So when I read this verse I thought to myself, what is Jesus saying here? Then one day I read in Matthew 19 verse 21, about a very rich man who had every good intention in his heart to want to follow Jesus, and Jesus asked him to give all his possessions to the poor and follow him, but the man refused and was sad, as he had great wealth. I decided that this verse was the key to understanding Matthew 16 verse 25. Surely it was about losing your material possessions for Jesus' sake and that was it.
So when I thought about losing what's in my life, I thought it was to lose what I possessed, like the rich man. My material possessions like my house, my money and my car. But then I pondered further, realising how simple and yet profound this verse is!
Jesus was not talking just about giving up what you own (though it is good when we do it in wisdom), but also about things that are ours. Like our loved ones, like the careers we worked so hard for, our studies, our children, our spouses. What about losing these things, which have become our life? This is more than just losing our material possessions alone.
In Genesis 22 verse 5 and verse 8, when God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham obediently did all that he was told by God up until the point when Isaac was bound to the altar, only to be stopped by God at the last minute. This was unfathomable to me, because I thought to myself "Which person could do this to a loved one?"
I had the same feeling when I came across this verse, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14 verse 26). Surely, God wouldn't ask this much of me. How can I "hate" my loved ones and life for His sake?
But that is where the verse above comes with meaning. In my life, I know I have a lot to lose. A doting devoted fiancé, two amazing families, my own and his, my astounding goals in medicine and science, my good health and a comfortable financial life.
Deep personal consideration
But as Christ became more personal to me, it struck me. Even though I would fear losing all that I have, I understood what the verse meant at last. Was I willing to put what I was scared of losing on the line and fully trust and have faith in God? What would I do if all this were gone in a blink of an eye? Would I still trust and have faith in God? It was a tough question for me, but I can confidently say "Yes". I can confidently give up all that I have in a heartbeat, knowing full well that God is in control and is sovereign. And that is why God did not take Isaac from Abraham, because God knew that in Abraham's heart he fully trusted him and had full faith.
Therefore God commended him as Man of Faith (Galatians 3 verse 9). "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back (Hebrews 11 verses 17-19).
Sometimes in my life I get too comfortable with what I have and what I have won in life. I forget that all things on earth are temporary, and what matters at the end of the day is my eternal life.
As it was said in John 12 verse 25 and Matthew 16 verse 26, "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"
If I end up choosing to love my earthly life more than my eternal life and gain or keep all that I can ever want, I will never find it. The true joy and victory in my soul; what I have found in Christ. And no one or nothing on earth will help me find what I am looking for; only in Christ will I find it.
Clarissa Yates is a young writer and a mum of two from Perth, Western Australia.
Clarissa's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-goh.html
Clarissa Yates is a young writer and a mum of two from Perth, Western Australia and a business woman with her 'Hooked in a Box' - www.hookedinabox.com. Hooked in a Box is a curated gift box studio company that hand-picks and creates customised and personalised gift boxes for Mum and babies. Clarissa Yates previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html