To live is Christ because Christ is life. He is eternal spiritual life- the life of God.
John 12:25 The man who loves his life [psyche] will lose it, while the man who hates his life [psyche] in this world will keep it for eternal life [zoe].
Here’s another statement by Jesus that allows us to see that the life he offers is a higher form of life. It is not just psyche. It is zoe. It is not just the human life of the soul, but the divine life of the spirit.
Jesus presents us with a great paradox: if we are in love with our human life we will destroy it. But if we hate our human life, we will find divine, eternal life. Now before we continue, let’s get this whole “love” – “hate” thing figured out. In Jesus’ day these words were used in a comparative sense. Whatever in my life is #1, I “love.” Whatever is #2, I “hate.” Notice I didn’t say whatever is “last” I “hate.” So elsewhere Jesus can say “If you are going to love me, you must hate your family.” Jesus isn’t saying, “make them last place.” He is saying, “make them second place behind me.”
So let’s think about Jesus’ human life- his psyche. He was not in love with his human life to the exclusion of all else. He loved the eternal more than the temporal. So by comparison to his eternal, spiritual life, he “hated” his human life. He put it second- even to the point of losing it on the cross.
When we love our human temporal life the most, paradoxically, it actually destroys everything in this human temporal life. Here’s 3 examples:
When we love money above all else, we will tend to overwork for it, cut corners for it, or cheat for it. This of course causes us to lose the very thing we are most in love with. We lose our jobs (the way to get money) or we lose our relationships (the reason to get money), or we lose our position (the other reason to get money).
When we love family above all else, we will manipulate our family to keep them close or to maintain their love and loyalty. We will not allow the freedom it takes for love to flourish. As a result we will lose the very people we are desperately trying to keep.
When we love power or status above all else we will quickly learn to either appease others or provoke others in order to keep our position of power. But over time this will lead to our own downfall, as people will either take advantage of or rebel against our leadership.
All of this is why Jesus, in John 12:25, tells us to hate our lives “in this world.” We learned yesterday that our physical, human life will live forever because of the indwelling zoe and the resurrection. So we do not hate our human life because it is unsaveable or evil. We hate it “in this world.” That is, in this world’s fallen, messed up, twisted setting of self absorption, and self justification like we just talked about in the three examples above.
Jesus came to free us from the love of our human life in this world. Rather, by his life, his zoe, we are free to embrace life beyond this world. Look one more time at John 12:25. If we “hate our life in this world” we will actually “keep it for eternal life.” We are free to join our human life to his divine life and see it transformed into a deep, flourishing, loving life that lasts forever.