The Paradox of Surrender
Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened. Matthew 7:7–8, CEB.
Those who find their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives because of me will find them. Matthew 10:39, CEB.
These two verses, just a few pages apart in the New Testament, seem to represent a paradox: whoever seeks, finds. But whoever finds, loses.
This seeming contradiction is resolved by asking what is being sought.
In Matthew 7, Jesus is talking about seeking God. Seeking the Way, the Truth, the Life. If you seek Jesus, you’ll find Him. If you seek truth, you’ll find Jesus, who is the Truth. And when we seek Jesus, we let go of our own agenda. And discover the other truth: Whoever loses, finds—but only if they “lose” because of Jesus.
If you seek your own agenda—your life—you lose. I know, because I’ve chased my own ambition and desires. You may not experience physical death at that moment, but you won’t be fully alive. To seek Jesus is to let go of the grip you have on your own priorities. And when you open your hands to release those things, Jesus fills them abundantly. In surrender, there is freedom. When you let go of your life, you experience real Life.
As a way to rationalize selfish behavior, some people will abandon responsibility, family and more, saying that they need to “find themselves.” That sort of selfish seeking usually backfires. But when we actually seek meaning, when we seek Life and not just our own lives, we will find it. The question we must grapple with is, how do we lose our lives for Jesus’ sake?
FAITH STEP: If someone were to observe your daily life, what would they say your priorities are? If they examined your calendar and your checkbook, what would they conclude that you are seeking?
Contributed by Keri Wyatt Kent
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