Lose It Or Lose It

Lose it or lose it? Did I make a typographical error? Maybe I am getting senile? No, but that is what can be derived from the words of Christ Himself as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew in regard to our life. However, do not despair, for He offered something much better.
Lose It Or Lose It
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2016 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete)

Matthew 16:25 is an interesting verse, the very words of Jesus Christ, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”--ESV. I used to think this passage meant becoming a martyr for Christ. It can, but it means a lot more. Being a martyr for Christ might actually be the easier way to follow this passage.

One reason this is the case is because according to the Greek text {1} Christ was not referring mainly to our physical life (bios in the Greek). The word in the text is

pseuche (psoo-kay) which many times is translated as “soul”, so He was referring to the inner condition of our heart that directs what we enjoy doing in everyday life. The context bears this out because just before speaking these words He rebuked Peter for telling Him He should avoid being killed at Jerusalem (verses 22 and 23).

Two subjects are basically addressed in verse 25, clinging to your life or clinging to Christ’s life. It is very clear that one cannot cling to both. The one is destined for destruction but the other is destined for Eternal Life. Many assume they can make it into the eternal Kingdom of God by their good works and so if they think they are living what they feel is a good decent life (often compared to the lives of the wicked) they find no reason to change. However, Christ calls all to repent, rethink the situation, and we will see there is good reason to do so. 

I. Clinging To Your Life 25a-d

“Whoever” is the first word of His statement and I would say it applies to both those outside of Christ and those who have been redeemed by Christ. After all, He was talking to His disciples and we plainly see that this exhortation immediately follows Christ rebuking Peter. Chapters before this we have The Sermon On The Mount which directed its hearer to focus upon the spiritual and heavenly instead of the material and earthly.

To a degree, we are designed to enjoy life on earth while we are here, but never to the extent that we enjoy it more than we enjoy God (if we do at all). Our sin nature would encourage our soul to crowd out God with many things, including legitimate ones. For example, we are to love both God and our family but millions love their family far more than they love God.

There are many that are satisfied with their life and enjoy their ways. When they are presented with the true Gospel, Christ Himself, and the directives of the Word of God they, if not outwardly, inwardly withdraw from Christ, His life, and His teaching (doctrine). They discover that things they felt were permissible to do or think are condemned by God. 

They also find out that God would certainly have more focused time from them, for their sake and His Name’s sake. It is inconvenient for some to take time to worship and study His Word every day. Some who are so used to going to church once a week find it a problem to regularly attend more services than one. They might be used to watching TV, playing video games, surfing the Internet and so on. That is their life and they are pleased with it.

Many want to hold to the way they live. They do not want to lose wages, or they do not want to lose any recognition they might have from their friends, or they do not want to lose friends, and the list can go on. So they hold on to their life and even fortify it. If it starts to crumble they make effort to rescue it. If they come to Christ they might find it uncomfortable to walk as He did, so they go back to their old life, turning to self.

Sadly, there are many examples of this. A few year back Dorcas and I helped a young man to come to Christ. He made a commitment and rejoiced briefly. But within a day he returned to his old life. One reason was that he came across the truth that abortion was wrong, same sex marriage was wrong, and a few other facts. His girlfriend and friends were on the world’s side, so that is what he returned to. He did not let go of his life.

Most unredeemed people feel that their life is their life, and they should do with it what pleases them. They cater to their soul, their desires, whether legitimate or blatantly sinful. They yield and cater to their own will, but not God’s will. They will protect their life from anything that might change it in some respect, especially God.

Nevertheless, Christ says they will lose it. “Lose" in the Greek can carry the idea of being destroyed. While it is true many pass from this life seemingly successful, if they died outside of Christ they carry no blessing into eternity. Their life (what they have enjoyed and participated in) ceases at death. Worse than that, they have died without Eternal Life. They still exist but they will desire that they would not exist {2}.

The earthly living they so dearly clung to will be gone. This is the reason for the title of this message. The entirety of the Word of God points to this. This is the main thought behind the book of Ecclesiastes which ends with an exhortation to all to trust and serve God. We can do that through the finished work of Christ. However, we must fully surrender to Him. We must let go of our life and take His.

II. Clinging To Christ’s Life 25 e-h and 24

The second part of verse 25 also begins with “whoever" which again would apply to both the redeemed and the unredeemed. But this time the term “loses" has “for my sake" added to it. One might wonder if one can lose their life for another cause other than Christ. They certainly can. One can give up a “decent" life for a life of crime or join a terrorist group. Others might give it up for religion. They might think they do so for Christ but mere religion is no substitute for a real, active relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

“My sake" means we should be constantly committed and surrendered to Christ. We must be continually surrendered to the will of God. This means our will stops and His will is the driving force in our life. Our old life must be laid aside. We are to die and let Christ live through us.

How do you lose your life for the sake of Christ? Christ gives the answer in verse 24 (ESV): “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” We deny self by willingly being directed by the written Word, Christ within, and the Holy Spirit. We take up our cross by refusing to yield to any sinful desires from our mind, soul, or body. We follow Him by not listening to relatives, friends, the world, and whatever else, and obeying only Him, no matter how we feel and no matter the cost.

In losing your life to

Christ you will actually discover what you are to be in God. You will find that the ways of God are far better than your old ways. While some things will be immediately clear, other things take time. For example, when I first came to Christ I heard that vengeance belonged to God. I believed it mentally but it took years for me to learn to completely practice it. All throughout our life as Christians God is very longsuffering and merciful.

You will notice there is remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). As you stay in Christ and mean business with and for Him you will love Him more and hate sin more. You learn to love Christ so much that you do not want to sin. You develop into Christ’s character, bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Your life will be fuller, even through trouble. Everyone encounters some type of trouble. The true Christian, though, will eventually use trouble as a tool to draw closer to God and develop more of the character of Christ. You will continue to spiritually grow as you remain in Him. Your growth will include skills and talents. God will lead you into learning many new things so you might better serve His kingdom.

This brings us to the point that when one truly comes to Christ they will realize their purpose in Him, what He has designed them for. Satan has beaten so many down, having them think they have no purpose, that they are worthless, or a failure. No matter your age, no matter your gender, no matter your past, no matter your physical condition, you have purpose.

And that leads us to another point. You can have an exciting life with Christ within. You can lead others to Christ, help revive marriages, work with others in the Body of Christ, and much more. The power of God can flow through you as directed by His Spirit to do the miraculous. One can also do exploits for God. An upside to the spiritual darkening of our time is that as society places more and more restrictions upon Christians, by the direction of God we can have an exciting life defying that negativity, even if it means secretly doing some things.

We truly can have abundant life in Christ. We learn to enjoy the blessings of God, no matter how “small" they might be. Really, there is no such thing as a small blessing from God. I have friends that live a life I sort of wanted before I was saved. They wear fine mens jewelry, enjoy wine, fine food, beach scenes and more. Now that I have Christ I greatly rejoice with His presence within and because of His unmerrited favor I truly enjoy a glass of orange juice and a plate of beans. Really, food is food. I can, and do, think of a tuna fish sandwich as wonderful as a juicy steak. In fact, I prefer it.

In Christ there is that satisfaction that whatever we do for Him in Him brings some type of benefit for the glory of God. Once we physically die our work in Him continues, and we reap rewards in eternity. Outside of Christ we carry no such thing into eternity.

But, according to certain passages, there is a space of time on earth before eternity, the thousand year reign of Christ. From what we read in the Holy Scriptures those in Christ are trained during their earthly life for some type of service during that time. It is somewhat like a caterpillar that will one day become a butterfly. As far as we know, a caterpillar has no idea that one day they will fly with beautiful wings. However, its life before that time prepares it for those glorious days.

Losing our life for the sake of Christ will bring us to Eternal Life. “Life" in “Eternal Life" is neither bios or pseuche. It is zoe (zo - ay), meaning “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever."

Real life comes by real continuous surrender to Christ. We become a part of the True Vine (John 15:1-6). We must remain there. As we remain there Christ will prune us. If you are in Christ, are you willing to let Jesus do some pruning? He may desire to replace a non-beneficial thing with doing something for Him. We might have to inconvenience ourselves at times. For example, we may feel a nudge from God telling us to leave the TV set or monitor and visit people in the hospital.

Some people mope their life away. Others chase after their dreams not knowing they will amount for nothing. However, in losing our life as we come to, and stay in, Christ we gain a whole lot more while here on earth, and have an abundance to look forward to in our resurrected future and for all eternity.  


{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} Please read You Still Exist After Death at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/article/you-still-exist-after-death .

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by December 13, 2016 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M427 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Posted on 05-11-2016 115 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    We must fight for the things that give meaning to our lives and without which a secure future would be meaningless. So why not make the most important Jesus Christ, without whom we cannot live.
    reply 0
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