Have you ever won an argument but lost a friend? In hindsight, was winning that important? Most of the time, it wasn’t. We make this mistake over and over again in life, and not just in the realm of friends. Sometimes it’s because we don’t have enough information. For instance, we pursue an opportunity at a new job, giving up one we enjoyed for one with the promise for more. Then something happens and we are either out of that new job or we’re in that new job and it’s nothing like what we thought it was. We do this with respect to earthly versus heavenly things, too.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? – Luke 9:25, ESV
This has made its way into a very well-liked Christian contemporary song by TobyMac and for this reason a lot of folks in churches today have heard these words repeatedly. However, knowing the words and abiding by them are two completely different things. So how do we abide by these words? We do so by doing a personal review.
- When I look at my life goals, who are they for? Are they for me or are they for Jesus?
- When I look at my proudest life moments, who was glorified? Was it me? Was it someone I cared about (such as a team)? Or was Jesus most glorified?
- When I look at the low points in my life, were they low points because I was brought down or because Jesus was misrepresented or ignored altogether?
These aren’t easy things to look at. However, it is essential that we consider these questions if we want to be in line with Luke 9:25. We can gain everything in this whole world, but if our life is not for Christ, likely we are not saved and that means we have forfeited eternity. These questions force us to think in terms of eternity, to think beyond this life. Are we uplifting self? That’s what we’ve been taught to do. But it’s dead wrong. Self is to be crucified. Christ is to be uplifted. This goes beyond doing just enough to get a back-row seat in heaven (think about that and realize that if we can’t earn grace how silly that sounds). It’s about bringing glory to the One we say we love the most. And it’s easy to say we love Jesus, but our priorities and the things we choose to focus on reveal the true loves of our lives. They also can readily reveal our lack of love for Christ.
Lack of love? If we have a lack of love for our Savior, then the question becomes one about what is the state of our current relationship with Him. That’s not a good question to have hanging over us. It should be settled, once and for all, as a deeply established and passionate relationship with our Lord. Think about the ideal picture of newlyweds. Think about how they’ll do anything and everything for each other. Are our lives the same with respect to our Bridegroom? If they aren’t, we’re showing an awful lot of love for the world. That’s not good.
If that’s the case, then we are the man who is trying to gain the whole world. And that raises into question our salvation. The solution is simple to say, but hard to do:
- Reaffirm our love and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Re-order our priorities to be in line with Him.
- Make sure that what we focus on is ultimately for His glory (this is a heart check).
- Go do it.
This isn’t to say we can’t have “down time” to play golf, to watch TV, to do a hobby. God rested on the 7th day, did He not? He knows the majority of us aren’t built to go all out, all the time. Even Elijah needed a break. But when it comes to the big things in life, we need to assess why we’re doing them and who they are for. Let us not be the man that forfeits eternity because he was chasing after something that wasn’t worth it. This is far greater than having an argument and losing a friend. If we insist on being right (and we’re not) in our pursuit of things apart from Christ, then we will lose Christ and lose our salvation. Or I should say, we demonstrate that we never had either in the first place.