Saving Our Lives

Sam Petitfils 

“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’ ” (Luke 9:23-25).

Recently, I was watching a sporting event between two contestants. One of the contestants, whom we will call “George,” possessed superior skills and talents, and normally stayed within a clear game plan. His opponent, let’s call him “Don,” knew the only way to defeat George was to get him out of his game plan. Sure enough, Don succeeded in the beginning, distracting George from his original plan, the one that brought him so much success, and duped George into a different plan. After struggling for some time, George regained perspective, settled into his normal routine, and then soundly defeated Don, but he had a scare and almost lost.

Sometimes we get distracted from a marvelous game plan that God lays out in His Word. Instead of following Jesus, we try to match wits with our enemy, and fall into the wrong game plan. When we do that, we may fight earnestly, but with the wrong strategy. Adopting the wrong strategy always ends in defeat. We need a better plan. What is God’s plan for our lives?

Jesus reminds His disciples that He has reserved a special place for them in His heavenly kingdom, but the path to glory comes through a humble walk in this life. While others chase after riches, fame and ease, we need to follow the Master through many hardships. Those who seek fortune and fame may indeed find it, but at what cost? Jesus says they forfeit themselves or their own souls in the next life. Pursuing the wrong plan might meet with initial success, but always ends badly. Jesus cautions His disciples with these sobering words: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

People fall into bad strategies for many reasons. Some simply listen to popular voices and allow them to set the plan. Others give up because the battle becomes too much to bear. Still others set their eyes on the wrong prize and aim for worldly glory and honor. But Jesus’ words bring a sobering reminder of the seriousness of our lives and what we do with them.

If you have never trusted Christ, turn to Him in repentance and trust in Him and you will receive eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). If you are a follower of Christ, keep focused on the Lord’s command to follow Him at all cost. Don’t allow the evil one to lure you into a different plan. When others question your commitment to Christ, remember that following God’s plan ends in blessings, not sorrow. You will experience God’s indescribable peace (Philippians 4:7), and gain the Master’s favor. You will not regret sacrifices you made for Him, and you will walk sure-footed in this life.

Stay focused on God’s plan for your life. He has brought you this far, and will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

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