The scram line in the 50’s was, “Make like a tree and leaf (leave)!” Borrowing from that line, let’s consider the holy, separated life to which we are called as followers of Christ. He tells us plainly that discipleship is costly. Very costly.
And he said to them all, “If any man would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
In the denying of self, we must not think of there being some void that leaves a Christ follower pining for some worldly pleasure that’s not to be fulfilled. Jesus knows human nature and knew His call to discipleship carried a price many would think too high. That is why He addresses any perceived loss in the next verses:
Read Luke 9:24-25: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
The idea of loss keeps many from salvation. They fear losing their lives in the sense of pursuing worldly affections and pleasures. Jesus is clear here; if one tries to keep or hold on to his/her physical life, they will lose their eternal life. But the reverse is also true. One can insure eternal life if he or she is willing to lose their physical life (reread Luke 9:23) for Jesus’ sake (“for me” in 9:24).
In his book Future Grace, Piper explains the incredible joy the Christian can know both now and in heaven when he/she learns the surpassing satisfaction of knowing and serving God. It reminds me of a line from a hymn: “…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
In worldly, human terms, let’s be losers for Jesus’ sake, make like trees and “leaf” the world behind as live, not for ourselves, but for Him.