Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25 ESV)
We hoard. We gather. We save. We are trained, and intrinsically inclined, to get as much as we can of something we deem valuable and keep it close to us. So, when we fall into that age old pit of aggressively embellishing our own self-worth it becomes second nature to want to maintain our comfortable status quo, reduce any risk, and seek after people and pleasures that reinforce our false self-opinion.
Jesus set a different standard and humanity has spent the last two-thousand years missing the mark. I constantly miss it. It is hard for someone like me. The problem? I like myself too much. Because a lot of the time I think I am much more awesome than I actually am.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe that we all have value, we all have worth, and we are all of us deeply loved by God. But the problem is that sometimes we love ourselves in all of the wrong ways. We love ourselves, but not enough to embrace truth. We love ourselves, but not enough to put God first. We love ourselves, but not enough to make the hard choices, even when they will be the better choices.
I am not one that thinks Jesus is looking to martyr every believer, but I do believe that every believer has to be willing to measure the potential cost of following Jesus. You can not live the fully devoted Christian life and love yourself more than you love your Savior. If and when you find yourself in that dangerous place you have become your own savior, and a poor one at that. Love life. Love it enough to hate it.