The key to abundant life is found in one seemingly insignificant and confusing verse. “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25, NKJV).

This is God’s challenge to our small world! Understanding what he means here is the door to a life-giving revelation. Jesus also said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

Certainly Christ cannot mean hate in terms of a classic dictionary interpretation, which is to loathe, detest, dislike or reject. God’s Word says, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer…” (1 John 3:15),and “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter toward them” (Colossians 3:19). It is not life itself that is to be hated because life is a gift from God. It is not people we hate; that would be unscriptural.

We must learn to hate the way we are living life. We must hate what our preoccupation with families and loved ones has done to us. Is your life all wrapped up in your children, husband, wife or parents? Are all your joys and problems limited to this small circle? God is simply calling on us to widen our circle of living. Life must be more than simply draperies, bills, kids’ schooling, parents’ welfare, family relationships. In the gospels, Martha was addicted to a life of trivia, but Mary wanted to grow! Mary wanted to expand her horizons, and Jesus approved of Mary’s approach to life.

You cannot grow until you hate your present immaturity. You don’t have to forsake your duties and obligations to family and friends, but you can become so bound by duty that it stunts your growth. One day you must wake up. A holy anger must arise in your soul, and you must cry out, “Oh, God! I hate what I have become. I hate my temper tantrums. I hate how irritable I am at times. I hate my moodiness. I hate how small I have become. I hate it!”

You must hate your present life so much that you cry out to God, “Lord, translate me into your glorious kingdom of power and victory!” (See Colossians 1:13)