When Jesus calls you to a sacrificial life that’s completely devoted to Him, He’s not just trying to win something. It’s not a show of arrogance by a person trying to be the best. Jesus isn’t asking you to lay down your life for Him and the sake of His Kingdom in order to prove how awesome He is or to stroke his own massive ego. No, it has nothing to do with that.
At the same time, He’s not calling you to a sacrificial life because He’s some kind of a fun vacuum. Jesus isn’t trying to make your life stilted and boring. He’s not just calling you to the Kingdom of God in order to keep you from having a good time. Again, it has nothing to do with that.
According to Jesus, the reason He is calling you to a sacrificial life that is completely devoted to Christ and His Kingdom is because that is actually the shortest route to happiness on the planet.
I know, it sounds weird, but it’s true. You see, we automatically think that the way to guarantee our own happiness is to be selfish… We think that if we get our own way and accumulate more and more stuff, then we’ll be happy; but it doesn’t work. It turns out that a life of selfishness and personal ambition only leads to us losing our very soul. The most confused and troubled people in the world are the ones who have the whole world in their hands but have an empty, lonesome heart.
Jesus wants us to think backwards. He said that if we gain the world, we lose our very selves. He said that if we reverse our natural instincts and give away our lives for the sake of the Gospel, we’ll actually gain our lives, enrich our souls and be filled with joy. Now, how can Jesus get away with saying something this radical? Well, that’s very simple. Jesus made the world and He made us. He is the manufacturer of the human heart, so He knows how it works best. He knows what fuels it and what kills it. It’s like reading the manufacturer’s handbook in the glovebox of your car. They know how the car works best because they made the thing.
Jesus made you. He knows what will give you life and what will steal your life away. In other words, if you want to lose your very self, go ahead and spend your life on your own desires; but, if you wanna be happy, listen to the Maker and lay your life down for Jesus and the Kingdom!