What Does It Mean to Lose Your Life for Jesus’ Sake?

For the years I’ve been a Christ-follower, I’ve struggled with the words we use and the meanings of those words. What does it mean to be a Christian? And why must we lose our life (Mark 8:35), or take up our cross (Luke 9:23)?

Long Before I Followed Jesus

I was a Christian long before I followed Jesus. I wasn’t Jewish or Muslim and I hadn’t killed anyone. So I thought I was a Christian. When I first heard the term “born-again” to represent Christians, I thought about how I wasn’t a born again Christian, but I was a born-in-America Christian.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Jesus, Mark 8:35 NASB

I Already Had A Full-Time Job

When I first followed Jesus, I already had a full-time job. I heard missionaries and pastors talk about how they were “called into ministry.” The idea sounded cool to me. I didn’t like my job, so I asked Jesus to call me into full-time ministry. But no matter what I tried, it always made more sense to keep my job, pay our bills, and raise our family.

Was I Called to Ride the Bench?

One time after hearing another missionary talk, from my disappointment and anger, I asked God if He had called me to ride the bench? Was God’s plan for me to stay out of trouble and make enough money to pay for someone else to “do ministry?” Did God have nothing else for me to do? Even if I was on the b-team (or worse), what could I do to improve? Was there any way I could earn a starting job in God’s organization? Were my options limited to volunteer positions? Was I not qualified to serve Jesus full-time?

The Role Jesus Calls Me To

Since then, I have learned that Jesus never “hired” me. He bought and owns me so I am not a slave to men (1 Corinthians 7:23). Everything I do is His. But the word slave has a connotation in our present world, as do words like minister, missionary, servant, pastor, priest, deacon, and elder. All of those words represent a subset of the role Jesus calls me to while I remain in a regular, full-time, paying job. But none accurately represents the fullness and richness of the life Jesus gives or the one He expects of us regardless of where we work.

Giving My Life Away

As a Jesus-follower, Jesus asks me to give my life away. Look at Mark 8:38 again. How would you interpret Jesus’ idea to “lose our life” for Jesus’ sake? Have you lost your life or only part of it? Do you catch yourself having one approach to God on the weekend and another approach to God when you’re at work?

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2 Responses

  1. “Jesus never ‘hired’ me. He bought and owns me so I am not a slave to men.”
    I absolutely love that!

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