He that hates his life in this world shall keep it

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serves me, him will my Father honor. John 12:23-26

Please note how pinpoint specific the Lord Jesus is here. He doesn’t say you have to hate who you are as a person, He qualifies it by saying we should hate our life in this world – in relation to this world.

So this is not about hating yourself. To hate yourself would, ironically, put the focus back on yourself, and that is the last thing Jesus wants is for people to be focused on themselves, whether in a “positive” or “negative” light. No. He asks us to consider what is our life in relation to this present, fallen world. Do we still desire something from this world? Do we still think there is something this world can give us, and therefore we are still not yet in a position of hating our life in relation to the world we live in? Is there still an appeal to this world?

And it may come in a religious disguise. In this context “world” also encompasses the religious world bcos the religious world is not the Kingdom of God, so it must be one of the kingdoms of this world – something from beneath and not from above.

The Lord Jesus says that if we don’t hate our life in relation to the world then we strike out on two counts – we remain alone – lonely, independent, self-sufficient people who have no real love for people, and we don’t bear the real fruit of the Holy Spirit.

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