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? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”(Matthew 16:24-28)
What is losing our life to God mean?
It is the very essence of being a Christian.
With practice, it gets easier and easier.
Its all about “living” with God every day. That should not be that difficult. After all, he has lived with us every day of our lives. He doesn’t work 9-5. He is there every moment. What’s more is that he knows us intimately. He knows every hair on our head and every cell of our body. NO ONE knows us as intimately as God does.
Think about that. Think of his constancy with us and think of his knowledge of us. Now, we move to the next step, we must be consciously AWARE of that. If we are consciously aware of that, then our entire life will change.
Since God is constantly at our side, how does that govern our interaction with the world, with the words we speak, the actions we take? It should govern all.
It’s a lot more difficult to sin when we know he is at our side. It’s a lot easier to cope when we know he is there to help us every step. No matter what cross we may have to bear, that cross is lighter when we know he will help us bear it.
Losing our life to God is turning it over to him. Not just in an altar call, or a moment of spiritual epiphany. It is ALWAYS.
Ah, but we are human and the flesh is weak. How can we achieve that?
It’s a lifelong process.
Ignatius of Loyola gave us the Examen and I would like to introduce it to you if you are not aware of it.
The examen is done at the end of our day. It consists of five parts.
The first part is to thank God for the blessings of the day. We do that by reviewing and giving thanks to how God’s love touched us that day, how we saw God in others that day.
The second is to ask God for the grace to see and overcome our failings of that day. Here we are asking God for an insight and a strength to make our daily lives more in concert with His life and commands.
The third is to review the day to see our spiritual experiences throughout the day. Look for the stirrings in your heart and the thoughts that God gave us. That also means we look for those things that have not been of God.
The fourth is to ask God for his healing touch to forgive us those moments that have not been in keeping with his commands.
The fifth is to look at the next day and plan on how we can live it in accord with his will.
Does that sound like a lot to you? It shouldn’t. If we have turned over our life to him then we need his grace to become more like him. By choosing to do God’s will no matter how difficult it could be, we actually lose our old self and we are transformed to the new creation that God has wanted us to be. By giving up our old life, we find our new life in Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Today, God is calling all of us to give up self and allow Jesus to prevail in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to be firmly founded on Jesus, live His life and allow ourselves to be subsumed by His will, so that we can truly say that we are one with Him and in Him we live and move and have our being!
Prayer of The Day
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will, all that I have and possess. You have given them to me; to you, O Lord, I restore them; all things are yours, dispose of them according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is enough for me.” (Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)
Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?