34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:34-35
People loved being where Jesus was and listening to him teach. His teachings were just out of this world. But often, they went away saying, “that was a hard teaching”. The things he taught were not always palatable. This was one such hard teaching. He challenges what you and I guard so jealously – our lives. We love to take control of them and to make sure they turn out just the way we like. We prefer that nothing comes in the way of our ambitions and goals. Everyone wants to get ahead and live a good life.
Let’s be honest, we are prepared to hear from God as long as what he says fits in with what we want. Now here’s the ironic hard teaching: the reality to the one who wants to save his life is that they will lose it. And on the contrary, whoever loses it for Jesus’s sake and for the gospel will actually save it. Let me unravel that for you. If my starting point is me, myself and I, then I’m in trouble and will never truly fulfil what God wants for my life. If my disposition on the other hand is that of surrender to his truth, his ways and his purposes, then I’m well on my way to fully enjoying his abundant life starting today.
The gospel of Jesus Christ ought to take centre-stage and our lives must be built around it. Let’s make all our decisions based on God’s purposes wrapped up in his wonderful gospel. Remember the gospel is of first importance!