“Anyone who loves his life will lose it. But anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it and have eternal life. Anyone who serves me must follow me. And where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:25-25
“We must be prepared to ‘lose’ our life, in order to find it. We must go the way of the cross. This is why so many who profess to believe in Jesus and to be followers of him lead lives that show little or no spiritual fruit, because they still love their lives. We may reckon this to be a mystery, but it is a mystery which is easily solved. The truth is vouched for and beautifully set forth by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:10,11. We only experience the resurrection power of Christ by carrying around in ourselves the death of Jesus, thus mortifying everything in our lives which opposes his life. Those who do become a fragrance of life to those who have his life, and a smell of death to those who neither have his life nor want it (2 Cor. 2:15,16).”
Still, William (2006) “Through The Year With William Still” ‘’An excerpt from August 1, Losing Life To Find It, The Banner of Truth Trust and Rutherford House, pg. 226.
“People have, from time immemorial, objected to a condition of salvation that requires them so completely to surrender themselves to God and to Christ, so completely to make God's will the principle of their living. And don't suppose for a moment that the Lord's words here can finally be reduced to a platitude, to something comfortable and simple and easy. Brothers and sisters, here lies the entire challenge and difficulty of faith and of living by faith.
It can be said that a real Christian hates his life in order to save it. A real Christian, that is, so completely repudiates life as it is defined and measured by the world, repudiates life defined by the worldly principles of sight and sense, self-love and self-interest that he can be said to hate his life. It is this principle of radical self-denial and radical surrender of one's mind and heart to Christ that the Lord is describing in these arresting terms in John 12 verse 25.
God wants us to be mastered by him, and he uses the steps of self-denial and self-surrender in our lives. Nothing distinguishes true and nominal believers more effectively than their willingness to hate their lives in this world. The Bible everywhere teaches us is what God requires. We must forsake the world and the love of the world, we must die to self if we are to live to God. We are not required completely to understand this, only to do it!
Believe me, my friends, there is still a great deal more hating of our lives that you and I must do. We have not hated our lives nearly so much, nearly so completely as we might, as we should, as we must. There should be as much a radical cast to our living today as ever there was when we first became Christians or first came to feel the delicious pleasure of forsaking all for Jesus, of surrendering ourselves for the sake of our Lord and Master. There is still much more hating of our lives to do today so as to keep our lives for ever.
For "hating our lives" is just another more homecoming way to say "living by faith" and, as Rabbi Duncan said - I cited this last Sunday evening - "Believers live not on the first act of their faith, but on the continual act of their faith; because it is not faith they live on but Christ. We can no more live by yesterday's faith, than we can see by yesterday's light, or have our life supported by yesterday's food." [Just a Talker, 64-67]
And in the same way we cannot keep our life for eternal life by yesterday's hating of our lives. No! That must be done today as well and every day to the very end. In the same way, when you are likewise tempted to say, "Well, I've got to do this or do that," I say to you, "No! You don't have to be happy in your marriage, you don't have to make your way up the corporate ladder, you don't have to feel content with the way your circumstances are turning out, you don't have to get a better house or car, you don't have to do or have any number of things that seem very important to you in this world. You don't have to follow that sport you love so much even though to follow it requires you to dishonor the Lord's Day. My Scottish friend who was a passionate fan of Formula One racing years ago, simply gave it up as an interest after the races were moved from Saturday to Sunday. You don't have to follow your favorite sport. You have only to follow and to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. There is so much more to say, of course, about God's love and his compassion for his children. But hear what our Savior is saying here in these very strong words he used. You must hate your life and you will if you firmly believe that Christ has far better designs on your life than you do, loves you far more and far better than you love yourself, and is far better able to choose the life for you that is best calculated to land you safely on the shore of the eternal country. That is what he meant when he said that you must hate your life if you would keep it for eternal life.
And what will come of that? The Lord says plainly. "My Father will honor the one who serves me." That is what it means to hate one's life. It means to put Christ absolutely first in one's life and let all the chips fall where they may. And, believe me when I tell you, not one man or woman has ever done that who - no matter what they suffered for Christ's sake - did not later say that they received from Christ many times what they surrendered to him. No one out-gives the Prince of Life and Love!”
Excerpt from a sermon "The Paradox of Faith" John 12:20-36
January 14, 2001, given by Rev. Dr. Robert S. Rayburn.