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For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:35 NIV

In his ministry, Jesus made many statements that provoked us to step outside our comfort zones. For example, all the "Blessed Are" statements in the Beatitudes. How is it possible to be blessed in hunger and thirst? Aren't these bad things? It depends, of course, on what you are hungry for: physical or spiritual bread and water.

Today's verse is another seeming paradox: how can we save our lives by losing them? Again, it depends on what we mean by our lives: our physical bodies or our souls. Of course, we benefit from knowing who Jesus is–God made flesh, something not widely accepted by the people of the time. We know when Christ speaks, it is always about our spiritual state.

When we read these two scriptures, we encounter a paradox, a desire, and a promise.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst (paradox) for righteousness (desire), for they will be filled (promise). Matthew 5:6

Whoever loses their life (paradox) for me and for the gospel (desire) will save it (promise).

These things are only paradoxes because of our immediate instinct to think in terms of the physical. We attempt to apply human reasoning molded by the world to the spiritual realm. It doesn't work that way. The only way Christ's statements make sense is by looking at them through the lens of faith. Unless we accept the divineness of Jesus, the whole idea of the Kingdom of Heaven doesn't make sense. Through the lens of the world, it seems an upside-down pipe dream–an impossible utopia.

However, in accepting Jesus, we are given a pair of corrective lenses that invert our instinctually flawed image to see the potential of these presumed dichotomies. With this new vision, we understand what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness and how it is possible to save our lives by losing them.

God, thank you for giving us a new vision through Jesus Christ. Through the lens of the Holy Spirit, we see the possibilities of your Kindom and receive clarity of what is essential through your eyes. Please help us as we take up our crosses this day and follow you. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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