"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?’” Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV)
We all want to live a full life, to get the most out of life. We try to gain the world and don’t realize we’re actually losing. We're afraid we're going to miss out if we don't… win, look a certain way, date that person, make that team, obtain that person’s approval, or get the perfect grades. We focus on “what makes me happy”, yet remain unfulfilled. We chase after life, but we miss the point of what a real fulfilling LIFE is all about.
Jesus's path to LIFE is different. Instead of trying to achieve life for ourselves, we need to let go, to give up. This means turning from our selfish ways focused on what's in it for me first. We must take up our cross, willing to give it all for Jesus as he gave it all for us, even if it means suffering. And we must follow him, living out the way of love, faith and truth that he taught us. We must lose our life for Jesus’ sake. When we do, we find that He gives us the real LIFE He always intended for us anyway. We find joy, peace, and acceptance in our relationship with Him. We find freedom, and we experience real love as we learn to put others first.
In what ways are you hanging on to your life today? Give up those things for Jesus, and experience real LIFE that only he can give.