We have all heard the expression, “You need to get a life!”

Well, Jesus would put it another way. He would in effect say, “You need to lose your life if you want to find it!”

Being a disciple of Jesus means a person must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him.

Luke 14:27 says, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (NKJV).

Elsewhere in Luke’s Gospel, He says, “If anyone desires to come after Me [that is, if anyone would be His disciple], let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23–24 NKJV).

I know that can sound pretty unappealing. You imagine yourself living in this miserable, sacrificial, unhappy condition. But the fact of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth. Note that Jesus says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it!”

Think of it as “God’s trade-in plan.”

There are people today who say they are trying to find themselves. (By the way, I can’t stand that expression.) One makes that statement usually before doing something really selfish, like walking out on a marriage. They might say, “You are no longer meeting my needs. I am unhappy, so I am going to leave you because I need to find myself!”

Could anything be more cliché, and wrong?

In essence, Jesus says, “You want to find yourself? Then lose yourself.”

Do you want to find life, purpose, and personal happiness? Then say, “Lord, here is my life, my plans, my aspirations, my dreams, as well as my weaknesses, shortcomings, and sins. I believe that Your plans are better than mine in the long run.”

But what does it mean to “take up our cross and follow Him?” This is explained in Luke 14:33: “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (NKJV). Literally, this means: “You must surrender your claim to, or say goodbye to.”

That does not mean that to live as a disciple of Jesus one has to take a vow of poverty and give every possession away. Jesus meant that we are to surrender our claim to our possessions. In other words, we are not to be possessed by possessions.

It’s fine to have clothes, a car, a house, and a career. It’s fine to have friends, hobbies, and interests. But the true disciple should not be obsessed with these things. The only obsession a disciple should have is for Jesus Christ. He must be the most important pursuit in our lives. He must be more important than our career or our personal happiness.

The fact is we will find the personal happiness we want not by seeking it, but by seeking Him. Why don’t you do that today?