Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?”
We usually don’t think that we are resisting God, in fact we usually think we are seeking something good. We would have to be crazy to go after something that would harm us. But sometimes, our will (maybe even our conscience) is not properly formed. Whether it be something that is immoral, or simply something other than what God wants for us, we often choose our own path.
Christ is telling us today that if we are to save our lives, we must let go of whatever life we had in mind, to embrace the life God is calling us to. This can mean a huge change in the direction of your life, and for some of us it must mean that. But most of the time, it means to let our plans fall by the wayside, because God has something important for us to do today. Maybe someone needs help, needs a visit, needs your time.
This is sometimes a joyful experience, when we realize that someone we love needs us to be there for them. It can also be difficult to let go of our plans to do something that only we can do. This can be painful because we truly give up part of our life to do this, which can be very hard, no matter how brief. Think of how children suffer through boring events, just waiting to be able to do what they want. We are not so different, we just learned how to deal with it better.
But we can also take another step toward perfection in Christ. If we can find a way past begrudgingly doing our duty, a way past resisting God’s Divine Will, our will might become more in line with His Will. In most cases, this is what it means to lose our lives for Christ’s sake. If we can leave the path we have chosen for the path God lays out for us, in any small way, we begin to die to ourselves and live in Christ.