"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it."
Mark 8:35 ESV
Hardcoded deep in our DNA is a survival instinct. That fight or flight response that kicks in when faced with dangerous and harmful situations. It is a gift given to us by our Creator. Sometimes though, that survival turns from preservation of self to selfishness. We become absorbed in the "me,” placing a higher value on ourselves than others. Our egos and self-preservation come before anyone else. Forget them; we will survive! More rare is the selfless person that puts others before themselves, when necessary giving their own lives to save others. We see examples of this daily in our first responders.
Jesus, of course, is the purest and most holy example of selflessness. In today's verse, he instructs his followers on what it truly means to be his disciple. To save ourselves, we must be willing to give ourselves for the gospel. As Christians, we not only give ourselves to Christ; we also need to be ready to give ourselves for Christ. This means putting to death our instinct of self and selfishness, replacing it with selflessness. The kind of selflessness found only in Christ.
Most Holy God, we give you thanks for the selfless example of your Son, Jesus Christ. He willingly gave his life to atone not for his sins, for he was sinless, but for ours. Please help us to die to self and selfishness and to become more like him. Help us to make your will primary in our lives, and help us to be responsive to the Holy Spirit. We remember those who have been martyred for the cause of your gospel and pray for those who persecuted today for your sake. In the name of Jesus' Christ, we pray. Amen.