“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" (John 12:25).
The key to abundant life is right here in this seemingly insignificant and confusing statement. This is his challenge to our small world! Understanding what he means here is the door to a life-giving revelation. Jesus also said: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, 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: to loathe or detest; to dislike or reject. God's Word says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…" (1 John 3:15). "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19).
It is not life that is to be hated, because life is a gift from God. It is not people we hate; that is 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 just 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. 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, a holy hatred, 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! I hate it! 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)