If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it.
I recently joined Orange Theory, and if you're not familiar with Orange Theory, it is a very intense workout program involving a treadmill, a rower, and various floor exercises. The other day, one of the Orange Theory coaches told my class that in order to see the results we want to see from working out, we have to eat really well too. Great exercise is not enough. We must be fully committed to our health, which involves eating well, as well as exercise. Our coach was inviting us to be fully committed to our health and fitness by committing to eat and exercise well.
Similarly, believers are called to be fully committed to the cause of Christ. When we follow Christ, He does not want us to follow Him partially. He desires our full devotion. In Matthew 10, right after Jesus called His disciples, He sent them out to teach others and to perform miracles. He told them that it would not be easy. They would face persecution and hardship. Despite the cost of following Him, Jesus called for full commitment. He was looking for disciples who were fully devoted to Him. In the end, He taught them that though they might lose their lives, they would indeed find them.
The same is true for believers today. Jesus is calling for us to be fully committed and devoted to Him. He is calling for full commitment despite persecution, hardship, and loss. He is calling us to give up other things that are distracting us from following Him. He does not want us to say we follow Him; He wants us to show it with our actions. After all, it is impossible to be fully committed to God when we are also committed to something else, just like it is impossible to be fully committed to an exercise program and also eat whatever you want to eat. God is calling us to full commitment today. Will you follow Him, no matter the sacrifice or cost?
The only way the gap we feel from where we want our lives to be to where they actually are can be bridged is through a thriving relationship with Jesus. Are you living your life fully committed to Christ? As you consider your relationship with Him, how can you more fully follow Him? Perhaps God is calling you to commit to follow Him for the first time, be baptized, or find a place to volunteer during one of the Saturday or Sunday church services. Decide today to follow Him fully, even though it will cost you and even though it will not be easy. In the end, you will find life.
Read Matthew 10:16-39 (NLT)
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.