Written on December 27th, 2006 - 12:27AM Last Updated: January 4th, 2007 - 6:47PM
He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
Whoever searches for and finds (ευρων) his soul (ψυχη, from which we get the English word "psyche") will "lose" (απολεσει) it. And whoever "loses" (απολεσας) it for Christ's sake, will find (ευρησει) it.
The forms of these words vary between these two clauses. The first, whoever finds his soul, has the word "finds" in the second aorist active participle, meaning it is something the person is doing to his soul (finding it), and that it is a point-in-time action (aorist) with an ongoing result (participle).
The Greek scholar A.T. Robertson says of this form: "The article and aorist participles here (ο ευρων, ο απολεσας) are timeless in themselves just like ο δεχομενος in verses (Matthew 10:40) and (Matthew 10:41)." The person finds their soul, with the result that it continues to remain found from then on.
In another account, Jesus says something similar, but uses the word "saves:"
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)
In these modern times, "finding oneself" is considered to be the utmost goal of one's life. Those who do so are supposed to find true and lasting peace. But what does Jesus say of this successful pursuit? That which they have found will be "lost."
What of the "soul" (ψυχη)? As mentioned, it is a Greek word from which we get "psyche" and related terms like psychology (study of the mind), psychiatrist (healer of the mind), pyschotic (insane or "chaotic mind"). It encompasses the thinking self, the mind, the soul, the union of spirit and body.
Looking at the words of Jesus immediately preceeding this verse, we get a better idea of what the "soul" entails:
37He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn't worthy of me. 38He who doesn't take his cross and follow after me, isn't worthy of me. 39He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
As above, in the rest of scripture, the word is commonly used for "life" as the totality of our experience on earth; such examples are:
Jesus' "soul" being troubled when confronted with His impending death (John 12:27)
Paul telling others not to be troubled about a boy who had fallen from a balcony, for his "life" was in him (Acts 20:10)
All of these examples of "soul" reveal how much it encompasses: our physical life, our relationships with other people, our person that needs to eat, drink and wear clothing, our inner person that is separate from the body, and that within us which feels emotions. The Lord Jesus says that those who are in the process of having found their "soul," or who are trying to save it, will lose it.
Knowing meaning of this word "lose," we can say that the soul that we find will be destroyed, ruined, utterly lost. In that first clause, it is in the simple form of future active indicative, reflecting an if-then statement due to the person's action. If the person finds their soul, they will lose (or ruin, destroy, kill) it.
However, there is another side to this truth according to Jesus. Whoever "loses" (απολεσας) it will "find" (ευρησει) it. Here, "loses" is in the aorist active participle, much like "finds" in the first clause. Jesus is comparing the two actions with two different results. In the first the person is "finding" his soul, here the person is "losing" his soul. And here "finds" is future, active indicative like in the first clause with "loses." So as finding one's soul causes one to lose it, so losing one's soul causes one to find it. It is a complete reversal of the cause-effect relationship.
It is important to emphasize that this call from Jesus for us to lose our souls is not for its own sake alone. Rather, as He says, we are to lose our soul or life for His sake. For, destroying our soul is not good in itself, as the Lord Jesus has come to save our souls from that fate (Luke 6:9)(Mark 3:4). Rather we lose them for His sake in order to find them.
This negates the many religious movements advocating losing oneself as its own goal. Buddhist as well as Hindu philosophy (as Buddhism came from Hinduism) both encourage giving up oneself to become nothing—but especially Buddhism.
It sees all things as imaginary, including God, and advocates meditating until one reaches nirvana, the place of nothingness. This is the end of losing one's soul without any goal. This is not what Jesus asks us to do. He doesn't want us to destroy ourselves for no purpose, to end up in a place of non-existence. Rather, He wants us to lose our souls for His sake, in order that we might truly find ourselves and true life.
Hinduism teaches something similar, except of course it encourages the person to see themself as God (Brahma), one with the universe (Brahman). Teaching such as this is only an extension of Satan's lie to Eve, that we can become like God by our own actions, whereas God promises to make us like Him when we see and believe in Him, receive Him, and serve Him as our Lord (1 John 3:2).
Again, the deceit of sin creeps in stealthily, mixing truth with error. "Certainly, lose your soul," these religions say, but not for the right reason—the end of those journeys will remain the same: death (Proverbs 14:12).
But the Son of God asks us to lose our souls for His sake. He, being Life itself, is our true destination (John 17:3). Anything that comes between He and us should be disregarded, thrown away, lost, destroyed. Only then will we truly find ourselves, our lives, our souls. This is the truth that Yahweh has revealed, the entire truth, not the lie baited with half truth that Satan and his angels offer.
How then would we do such a thing? Looking at Christ's example, we must willingly give up those seemingly necessary things that would prevent us from following Him—as He is God's own Son, Life incarnate, we don't have true life without Him. Anything that stands between Him and us should be "destroyed, ruined, lost." What are some of those things that can stand between Jesus and us?
Notice in Mark's account that we give up these things "for My [Jesus'] sake, and the Gospel's." Not only for the Lord Himself, but for the preaching or message of Him too—we must be willing to and so give up all these things to embrace Christ. Of course, none of these things are bad or evil in themselves, but it is when they come between us and our reason for existing that they become stumbling blocks to be shunned. Then we are counseled to lose them and so lose our souls or lives, that we might find them in Him.
So, Jesus counsels us to actively lose our soul at a specific point with the result that it is staying "lost." It is only when we do so that we can find our soul unto eternity. We make the decision to lose it and follow through with it each day—as He says we must carry our cross as did Christ, which is death to oneself in order to find oneself in God (Matthew 10:38).
Just as Jesus was sent to the "lost" sheep of the House of Israel, so He encourages us to actively "lose" our souls, our minds, our entire lives, for His sake and the Gospel's (Matthew 16:25). Once lost to this life, we may find it through Him unto the next life.
29Jesus said, "Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good Message, 30but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)
God is concerned with our daily lives. He knows what we need to live on this earth—food, drink, clothing, as well as relationships with other people. He made these things for us to enjoy and to reveal His glory.
However, when we serve these things, rather than Him, we have missed our reason for being. We are using those things wrongly and will not be satisfied.
So as Yahweh in His Son counsels us to give up those things for His sake, so He reveals that He cares enough for us to teach us how to be happy.
He doesn't leave us disappointed and distraught over our falling through when looking to His creation for what only He can offer. But He teaches us how to view these things so that we might come back to the Life He has always planned for us to enjoy.
As His apostle has revealed, God is love, and in this teaching that truth is evident.
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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