“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
It’s not that we are to not enjoy what we do or even strive for excellence in our endeavours, but when even those things get in the way of what God has planned for us, they have to go!
And though that can be a painful process, it’s also a blessing. Fenelon wrote “I am convinced that God means to accomplish His work in you by cutting off every human resource.”
But how does that process work? In a wonderful passage, C.S,Lewis explains this as a basic principle of how we live our lives:
“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life…”
“Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.
Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.
Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay.
But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”