Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

Do you tend to shrink back when you read these words?   You’re not alone.   Denying oneself, taking up one’s cross, losing one’s life—it can sound, well, just too difficult.

And yet we need to remember that it is God who is asking this of us—and he is someone we can trust!   Just look at what Moses says in the first reading.   He recounts miracle after miracle that God had done out of love for his people.   Moses’ language is striking: he reminds the Israelites that God “personally” led them out of Egypt “by his great power” (Deuteronomy 4:37).   He took them by the hand and delivered them from a land of slavery to a land flowing with milk and honey.   Yes, the Israelites had to give up the relative security of their old life in Egypt, but look what they gained!

This is your God.   He is faithful and trustworthy.   He wants only what is best for you, even if it means that you have to give up something that you think you can’t do without.   He wants to lead you personally, just as he led the Israelites, away from anything that keeps you far from him or that divides you from the people you love.   But he won’t force you; he wants you to surrender to him willingly and trustingly.

Remember too that God doesn’t usually ask for something earth-shattering.   Maybe he wants you to give up some time catching up on the news in the morning so that you meet him in prayer first.   Maybe he is asking you to refrain from office gossip and use that time to listen to a colleague who is going through a hard time.

Spend some time today thinking about what you might need to “lose” in order to find more of your life in Christ.   Even if it’s something difficult, remember whom you are giving it up for.   You can trust this great wonder working God.   He won’t ask you to give up something without giving you something much better in return.   He is a good God, and he wants nothing but good for you!

“Jesus, help me to let go of anything in my life that leads me away from you.”

Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Psalm 77:12-16, 21

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