Friday, May 31, 2024

Lose Yourself

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT)

The things that impressed me as a younger Christian still impress me, but now other things impress me even more. When I was a brand-new believer, I was very impressed by a powerful preacher or someone with a great musical gift that they used for God’s glory.

I was impressed by someone who consistently shared their faith and led people to Christ. I am still impressed by those things, of course. But there are other things that impress me today.

What impresses me now is a husband and wife who stay faithful to each other for their entire marriage. I’m impressed by a Christian who weathers the storms of life and doesn’t become angry at God but comes closer to Him instead. And I’m impressed by believers who simply live out their faith each day.

Being a disciple and being a follower of Jesus is, to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche, “long obedience in the same direction.” It is staying with it.

Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NLT). Notice that Jesus said you must take up your cross daily—not yearly, not annually, and not even monthly or weekly.

It’s as simple as reading your Bible when you get up in the morning. That is giving up your own way and taking up the cross daily. It means praying. It means speaking up for Jesus Christ, even when it’s uncomfortable or a bit awkward. Essentially, it means putting God first and yourself second.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that sounds kind of miserable to me.”

It’s actually the opposite of that. It’s living life as it was meant to be lived when you put Jesus first. That’s because Jesus said, “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 are yourself lost or destroyed?” (Luke 9:24-25 NLT).

Take up the cross—that is what we are called to do every day. And if we will do this, then we will find ourselves. Do you want to find yourself? Then lose yourself. Put God first.

If you try to be a happy person, you never will be a happy person. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy. But if you live to be happy, you never will be.

As philosopher Eric Hoffer pointed out, “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

Here’s what it comes down to: If you want to be happy, then seek to be holy, and happiness will come as a by-product. Seek to be holy. Seek to be like Christ. But also live wholly for Christ. So, seek to be like Christ and live for Christ. You will be a happy person as a result.

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