"To be or not to be, that is the question". Shakespeare spouted that ever so long ago but it is a question we must constantly ask ourselves while trekking along in the ways of God. And how about pondering these questions too, "to give or not to give"; "to love or not to love"; "to forgive or not to forgive" etc. To answer these questions, Jesus challenges us all along the way to do what He did...give up your life for others.
Count the cost though, because it will cost you everything; but it's a great trade-off, folks. You get rid of the broken nature ruling you and have God's perfect nature start coming out more and more frequently. But what do you mean by "give up your life?" Jesus is our example. Once He began His public ministry, He started that sacrifice right away. Giving up your "life" means sacrificing some of your comfort, dignity, personal desires, home, schedule, etc. Giving up your life does not mean giving away your life! Far too many Christians are exhausted and disappointed in their lives. They feel burdened and distressed and are totally "burned out" in serving God. I know – I have to battle it all the time. The old adversary knows that if he can't get you down with sin, he'll exhaust you with good works.
God cautions us against having a life filled with "good works that are going to burn"; meaning good works not led by His Spirit. They are still good, but not led of God. We need to be full of "God works" not just "good works". That's important because God's good works always do something "spiritual" along with the physical action. That is so important to understand. We want to pile up the good works that are helping someone grow in their relationship with God not just helping them for their personal relief. Ah – "to be of God or not to be of God", that is the question! Endure the fire...it's producing pure gold!