If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. – Matthew 16:25
In this Matthew passage, Jesus expresses a profound truth as a paradox—a seemingly self-contradictory statement that proves true upon further examination. Jesus is saying that if we hold too tightly to something, we will lose it.
We are all too familiar with the paradox that sometimes the harder we try to change our lives, the more stubbornly they refuse to change. In such situations, instead of just trying harder, we must be willing to try something different.
This doesn’t mean giving up. It just means trying a new tactic—maybe even doing the opposite of what we’ve been doing.
Try that the next time you encounter a familiar but uncomfortable situation. Instead of reacting the usual way—lashing out, clamming up, or pretending to be all right with something when you’re not—try to take a mental step back. Take a deep breath. Say a little prayer. Then deliberately do something different. Walk away. Speak up. Say no.
Try it just this once. For a change.
Is there a stubborn issue in your life that seems to resist every effort at changing? Brainstorm some different tactics for responding to this issue.
What internal arguments hold you back from trying something new in response to a painful stimulus?
Lord, I need you so much in this process of breaking free from reactive patterns in my life. Help me loosen my grip on old habits and trust you enough to try something completely different. Help me better understand why I do what I do, and deliver me from my reactive lifestyle.
Taken from Take Your Life Back Day by Day copyright © 2016 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.