If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.
In our selfie culture of today, people have literally died trying to get the ultimate photos of themselves by doing something dangerous. We want to look good and give the appearance that we have it all together. Basically, we’re obsessed with ourselves.
The Bible even says that one of the signs of the last days would be that people will love only themselves: In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God (2 Timothy 3:1–2 NLT).
Is that not an accurate statement of today? In contrast to our narcissistic culture, Jesus said, If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it (Mark 8:35 NLT).
Jesus was effectively saying, If you get your priorities in order, if you deny yourself and take up the cross, you will find fulfillment in life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. But it won’t come from chasing happiness.
Here’s what you need to know: Selfish people are unhappy people. Studies have confirmed this. You can get a momentary burst of what we might call temporary happiness by doing something selfish. But as one expert pointed out, selfish happiness fades quickly and then drives you to more selfish behavior.
On the other hand, acts of selflessness bring happiness. Many of us know this from experience. When we’ve done something for someone else, putting the needs of another person before our own, we’ve experienced happiness.
That’s really what Jesus was saying. You won’t find happiness by pursuing it. You’ll find it by putting God first in your life and following Him.