Life Lost, Life Saved

Often times, when someone has a hobby they often do, maybe an activity they often participate in, that thing becomes their “life.” They will explain themselves to other individuals, “basketball is my life!” or “Do you know Shannon? Her life is dance, it’s like all she does.” And I can remember often hearing the phrase “you have no life” or “get a life” being shouted to individuals who are deemed boring or immature by another’s standards.

As a Christian, what is our life? Sure, there is no problem having hobbies or activities that we frequent, but what defines our life? I wonder if individuals talking about me when I am not around are saying “You know Forest? Christ is his life!” or “Man, that guy Forest is all about Jesus. His life is Christ!” Now, I am not sure whether or not this happens. In all reality, it most likely doesn’t, but having my life defined by Christ is my goal!

Six times in the Gospels of the New Testament (Mat. 10:39; 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24; Lk.17:33; Jn. 12:25) Jesus is recorded as repeating a variation of this saying: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mat. 16:25). I especially like John’s account in which Jesus exclaims “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn. 12:25).

This paradoxical statement by Jesus captures a deep and meaningful contrast. He contrasts the physical life with the spiritual life, the earthly life with the heavenly life, and the temporary life with the eternal life. Are we, as followers of Jesus, willing to give up desires, relationships, whatever it may be in order to keep our eternal lives? Is Christ our life?

Christ was Paul’s life. Paul serves as an excellent example for Christian’s in many facets of life (Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:15-17). One of the greatest examples in my mind is one of having a life which was defined by Christ. Paul fulfilled Jesus’ paradox and lost his temporary life in order to save his eternal one. In fact, Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Christ was Paul’s life! For him to live wasn’t Paul, he wasn’t following Paul’s will, he was following Christ’s will, and his life reflected it. Again, in Galatians 2:20, Paul declares “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul’s life was no longer his own, it was crucified in his conversion, he now sought the will of Christ.

Let’s take the profound words of Jesus, and the example of Paul, and let Christ define our lives!  Anything is worth giving up for a number of years for an eternity of bliss. “Losing” this life means nothing in comparison with gaining an eternal one to come! We should make it our goal that when others are describing our lives, they can truthfully say about us “Christ is their life!”

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