My heart beating
My soul breathing
I found my life
When I laid it down
You know when God stirs something within you over and over again? These words of worship are one of those things He’s spoken over my heart for the past month. Such beautiful lyrics by Hillsong United, ‘I found my life when I laid it down‘ were a whisper to my soul – calling me to dig deep and ask God: what is true life in Christ and what does surrender look like in my everyday?
I ended up in Matthew 10:39 where Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” And this profound paradox stopped me right in my tracks. First of all, it made my brain a little dizzy, but then it slowly sank in: this verse is the honest choice we have in Christian life as disciples of Jesus.
On one hand, we have the temporal illusion of a life according to the world’s standards. Our culture daily attempts to tell us what life’s really about. That we’ll find our identity and satisfaction in more money, more things, a better job, a bigger house, a flawless family, and a perfectly self-sufficient life. Yet Jesus says that our seeking to find ourselves for ourselves in these fleeting things will actually cause us to lose our life.
Oof. That convicted me. I’m too familiar with striving for comfort and control as I wrongly assume that will guarantee me the best life. But He’s right. That’s not where my treasure lies.
My treasure lies on the other hand: in the abundant, meaningful, eternal life found in Jesus. A better life devoted to loving God + loving others with a surrendered, sacrificial love modelled after Jesus Himself.
I think Paul describes this counter-cultural life perfectly to the Philippians, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Yes, to lose our old life for the cause of Christ is to find true life in Him. Yes, a life worth living for Jesus is a life worth losing. And Paul knew so deeply – a man who had literally been the worst persecutor to Christians – that all other paths aside from God’s are empty. That the only fulfillment and gratification of life is found in the person of Jesus. And we can look to the amazing example He walked before us:
Denying Himself for the Father who sent Him.
Speaking words + accomplishing works that weren’t His but His Father’s.
Becoming poor for our sake so that through His poverty we might know the riches of God.
Taking the cross that we so deserved because He so loves.
Living out selflessness like the world has never seen nor will ever see again.
Gracing us with His love, His Spirit + eternal life that starts today.
When I consider it all, how can Christ not be my treasure above everything? How can I not lay my own life down for the One who loved and died for imperfect me? And I think what’s even more beautiful as we look at surrendering our own lives for Jesus is that the Greek word for ‘find’ – as in finding life in Him – means to be seen, to be present, and to come to know God.When I consider it all, how can Christ not be my treasure above everything? How can I not lay my own life down for the One who loved and died for imperfect me? Click To Tweet
Matthew 13:44 paints another beautiful picture for us: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” This man knows how precious Jesus is more than anything and he joyfully loses all he owns for Him.
It’s the joy that gets me. The fullness of joy found in Jesus. In giving not receiving. In dying yet gaining. In knowing that He’s our Peace who faithfully works through it all for His heavenly purposes.
It begs the question: Will we go + give up everything for God with that same joy? How far will we take our cross to share God’s love with others?
For us moms, our ‘to die is gain’ may be in the daily unseen sacrifices of motherhood as we put loving others first though we’re exhausted + struggle to see the fruit. For a spouse, it might look like holding your tongue and your pride in order to love the other better. For a missionary abroad, it may be the real risk of life-or-death danger as they bring the Word to those who need it.
As we die to ourselves – to our every hope, dream, ambition, priority, plan – we find everything in Christ. We rejoice in advance that taking faith-filled risks is more than worth the eternity we’ll spend with our Father who loved us first. That’s why it’s a get to as daughters of God — we get to lay down our lives (even in suffering and in hard work) and be part of His kingdom work. We get to take risks of love because we’re expectant of the hope ahead. Because He’s more valuable than any other treasure we could ever be offered. And every loss is a space only God was meant to fill — satisfying, gratifying, supplying + overflowing.
And yes, He gives gifts to be enjoyed too but none are greater than Jesus. Rather, they’re pointers to Him. Tools for us to treasure Him first, to give Him glory, and to make Him known.
So friends, here’s the final heart check: Is today the day that we worshipfully surrender all so that we may fully abide in Jesus?
With joy in our hearts and eyes fixed on Him, let our answer be “Yes + Amen, God!” Let’s find our life as we lay it down.