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The Dilemma Of Finding Life

The Dilemma Of Finding Life

Have you ever sat around and just observed people? Everyone is on a journey in this process we call life. But what is life? We all ask this question every day that we are alive. It may be an unconscious question, but nonetheless it is there. I mean, don’t we spend our existence in search of it? Don’t we work hard to create it or make it better? Isn’t that why we hear statements like, “Get a life!” Every day we are in search of a better way of life. But how do we obtain it?

I have been challenged by a verse in the Bible lately that addresses this train of thought: Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus spoke these words, and I find them very challenging to the dilemma of finding what life is all about.

I look around and observe, as well as participate, in the journey to become someone in this life. I am a little perplexed that Jesus says that if I find life I will lose it. He gives us a seemingly backward plan for finding life. He says that if we lose life for His sake, we will find it. Very interesting, but in reality it doesn’t seem to make sense.

So let me share a few of my thoughts. We search for life in many different areas. Think about these things: Why are we going to college? Why do we go to parties? Why do we play sports? Why do we buy name brand expensive items? Why do we have sex outside of marriage? We do these things because we are on a quest for life—and not just any life, but one that will be fulfilling and make us happy.

The thing is, that is exactly what Jesus wants for us as well. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” We need to understand this. We need to believe this about Jesus. Many people have the impression that to follow Jesus means that life will now be boring. But if we truly look at Jesus, He lived life. He stated that He came to give us a full life. So how does His plan of losing life help us find it? How does that fit in with His plan to give us life? I mean, does Jesus contradict Himself?

Let’s look at two examples of how we try to make a life for ourselves. Some of us are going to college to make a life for ourselves through our education. But how many people do you know have gone to college and are still miserable? They have searched for life and missed it. They spent so much time studying that they never got the opportunity to experience life. On the other hand, you can go to college, and it can enhance your life. The education is not our lives; it is a tool we use to become better people.

What about sex outside of marriage? God is not against sex. It is clear that His plan is for marriage. The truth is, God is the creator of sex. But people are on a quest to experience all life has to offer. Therefore, many people are having sex outside of marriage. Most people I know do this to enhance their lives, not mess it up. But in chasing after a better life, many have experienced broken hearts, single parenthood or STDs. All this is done in the simple quest for life.

Most of these quests for life are not wrong in and of themselves. What may make them wrong is our attitude behind what we are doing. If we are trying to find life in these things, we are probably in for a big surprise. Someday we may find out that in trying to obtain life through these things, it has cost us our very own life. This is what Jesus was communicating when He spoke these words.

Now let’s look at the part about losing our lives. This seems like a pretty large request for Jesus to ask of us. But I think what Jesus was addressing here was the mindset that He knew we would be faced with living in this world. Think about these things. If you make a decision to work for less money or to forego that higher position in your job, you may seem pretty foolish to people. But if God is leading you to make that decision so that you can spend more time with your family, you are going to find out that you just found life. Or maybe God has called you to make a lot of money so that you can help people. Others are going to look at all the money you give away and say that you are foolish. But in reality you are finding life in the very act of giving.

Those are just two examples of finding life when you are in the process of giving it up. Just thinking about what this verse is saying does not make very much sense. But when we step out and actually risk losing our lives for the sake of Christ, we will then find it. The key is found in Whom we are losing our lives for. There is no greater fulfillment in life than giving it completely to the service of Christ. We already know that He has a desire to give us life in all its fullness. So our risk is really a calculated measure of our trust in what He says to be true. What area in your life do you think Jesus may be asking you to give up?

If we can come to the understanding that we can find life in living for Jesus instead of living for ourselves, we will experience life in all its fullness. When we have participated in this reality, we truly find that our lives have meaning and purpose. But we must trust Jesus’ way of doing things and not the scenarios that we make up in our mind or the ones that appeal to our own desires. We must truly let Jesus lead the way to life. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

[Kevin Diederich is currently working on planting a church in the southern suburbs of Chicago.]

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