For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?Matthew 16:26(KJV)
A true disciple is one that denies self and lives for Christ, rather than ignoring the commands of the Lord Jesus, by living for themselves. A real disciple is one that abides in Christ, takes up his cross and follows Him, rather than ignoring the way of the cross and following the way of the world.
A genuine disciple is a man or woman who will forsake the things of this world by losing their life and dying to self, rather than seeking after the things of this world - for what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul – his life. Every disciple is a believer but not all believers choose to take the route of discipleship – by way of the cross.
Though this passage is often incorrectly applied to the unbeliever, the Lord Jesus was speaking to his disciples and pointing out the two ways that a believer can follow – the carnal way is the way of the world where a believer lives for themselves, not understanding that the life we live on earth will dictate our future role in heaven.
If our life-work is carried out in the flesh, it will be burned up, which means that the life that we lived in the flesh will be lost – we will have nothing to show for the life that we lived, if we live for ourselves.
The spiritual way is to deny self and live for Christ – where the believer submits to the leading of the Holy Spirit and seeks to do the will of the Father, rather than building up rewards on earth instead of securing treasure in heaven – and by delighting in the praises of men rather than that of the Lord.
If our life-work is carried out in the spirit - though tried in the fire it will come out as gold and silver and precious stones. The life lived in spirit and truth may not gain the wealth and praise of the world but will result in a share in heavenly rewards – Let us die to self as we live for Christ.
Dear Lord, help me to live a life that is pleasing to You – a life that seeks Your will not mine, in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.