Lost and found. The two appear to be opposites. Either your sock is lost or it is found. Your dog is either lost or he's found. Something or someone can be lost for a time until their whereabouts are no longer a mystery and they are found. Right?
This is the common understanding of lost and found. At least, it's what I have always assumed was the common and correct understanding of the phrase. In my simple mind I always assumed that if you were in the lost category you were obviously not in the found category. And if you were already found then there was no reason for you to be thrown in that lost and found bin.
My simple thoughts about lost and found have long extended past dogs and classified ads, all the way to faith and salvation. I can thank the hymn "Amazing Grace" for my long held belief that if you were lost then you weren't found. As my favorite hymn sings, "I once was lost but now I'm found." Simple, concise and to the point. If you're lost then you aren't found. End of story.
Or is it? Is lost and found that simple? As a Christian are you really one or the other?
A thought dawned on me today and it is making me question and rethink my whole belief on lost and found. Could it be that the key to the Christian life is to be both lost and found at the same time?
You may be thinking, "Lost? Doesn't that mean I'm wayward and still stuck in my sin?" No, the lost I'm referring to is lost to self. This might be the biggest road block standing in the way of many Christian's embracing a life of complete surrender. They don't want to be lost to the self - myself included.
It is easy to say, "Yes" to being found in Christ. Well, maybe not exactly easy but it is far easier to embrace the love and grace of being found then it is to be lost to self. Being lost to self means putting to death sin that entangles. It means relinquishing control and the right to one's self. Being lost to self means being lost to our ideas of what our life should look like - in our humble yet deeply engrained opinions.
Here in lies what many struggle with in the Christian life. We sing of being found in Christ. That discovery happens when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus' free gift of salvation paid for by way of His death on the cross. But what about the self that we have become so accustomed to relying upon? Are we still found in ourselves or have we lost our indivdual hold on our lives?
Instead of being lost in the way we were prior to our re-birth we must be lost to ourselves. We are found in Christ and therefore we can no longer also be found in ourselves. Because we are sinful. We are fallen and imperfect and terribly, terribly flawed. If we try to remain found to self and found in Christ then we will constantly be in a state of struggle trying to have our way while trying to go God's way. The two cannot coexist. If we want to be completely found in Christ then we must be completely lost to self.
I wish I had the golden ticket, fail-proof piece of advice that could help my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ learn to lose themselves. Quite frankly I'm still working on this key aspect of my faith, too. I'm still trying to run so far away from my old self that it is too lost to ever be found. And I'm finding that this is more difficult then I could have ever imagined. Ask me to lose a hat or a pair of gloves or one single sock and I'll have no problem fulfilling the request. But ask me to lose myself and I hesitate. Lose myself? You mean lose my ideas, dreams, will, control and desires? You mean let all of that fall away and get buried under a pile of rubble?
It isn't necessarily painless and easy to lose oneself. But it is what Christ requires of us. In Matthew 16:25 Christ says that, "whoever loses their life for me will find it."
There you have it boys and girls, brothers and sisters. We must be willing to lose ourselves while at the same time be willing to be found. We must be lost to ourselves so that we can be found in Christ and share in eternity with Him. If you are found in Christ but not lost to yourself then a battle will constantly be under siege for control of your will and direction. To fully submit and surrender to Christ then our old self must go missing, vanish, wander astray never to be seen again.
Once we are lost to self we are free to experience the peace of being found in Christ, a peace that only comes from giving up the fight for control. A peace that is only found in being lost to the ways and the sin and the control of the self.
So my question to you is this, are you lost and found?