“What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Matthew 16:26
God wants us to see the big picture and give ourselves to those things that will ultimately lead to our own profit. So what will lead us to a profitable life before God and man? Here are four observations from the passage in Matthew 16 where the verse above is taken from.
- It involves a revelation of who Jesus is. “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) The foundation of a profitable life is Jesus Christ. Building your life on anything else will eventually be revealed as sinking sand.
- It involves a personal cross. “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) Thank God that Jesus went to the cross for us, and made the payment for our sins required by a holy God. But that doesn’t change the fact that each of us will have a personal cross and a Gethsemane where we will either choose to trust God in the midst of our pain, or turn from God and reject His purpose for us. Joni Erickson Tada said: “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” This sounds like a good definition of the cross.
- It involves freedom from self preservation. “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Don’t try to make your own life; grab a hold of Jesus and He will make you exactly who you were originally designed to be.
- It involves a process. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23) Shortly after Jesus speaks into Peter’s destiny, Peter must be rebuked for going the wrong way, a way that came naturally to him. We must accept the fact that our natural way of thinking is often wrong. This is not a one time event, but a way of life for a disciple. Jesus wasn’t discouraged with Peter. He was only keeping His promise to him: “Follow Me and I will make you…” He makes the same promise to you and me.