I wrote this response to an unbeliever who was arguing that the Bible was untrue and that Christians should give up their houses and families and live in the streets to be true Christians.
To lose everything does not necessarily mean to lose your house, family and all your worldly goods. They are a reflection of what you seek for happiness. To truly lose everything, is to die to one's self. That is biblical. And to die to one's self is to not focus on what one thinks as right but to measure every thought by the standard held up by the Bible and then to live it. To sacrifice the natural man's innate desire to please the appetites of the carnal man. To die to self is to lose all desire to please oneself and live to serve others. To focus on how someone else feels, how our presence, attitudes, actions and speech affect the ones around us. We are to clothe ourself in kindness and understanding, remembering that the lost are just that...lost and we are to be compassionate and not judgmental of them. They are already judged and condemned, we are to seek ways to help the condition of man right now, the present time. By doing this we are seen as Christ said "you will know them by their love for one another". and to steal a paragraph from
Jack Watts of Pushing Jesus " This is where Christians stumble all the time. They drive desperate people, caught up in sinful lifestyles, away, refusing to give them the same mercy they required a few years earlier. They embrace pride rather than humility, judgment rather than mercy, and rejection rather than acceptance. They cease to be like the Lord, who loved sinful people."
And because of this, we Christians are seen as failures because most sinners know that Christ sought them out, not the Pharisees or the leaders of churches.
When we live like this, we are truly giving up everything, because our natural self, our sinful self, desires to please our base needs and also our pride, the first sin, seeks to be better than others, instead of less than others. And yet we are instructed to see others as better than ourselves (Phil 2:3) and in this most Christians fail. They fail because they still have the vain belief that they sought salvation, that they sought out the Lord when in truth He had to seek out us because we were dead in our sins and could do nothing of ourselves, being dead.
To truly die to self is pleasing to God, but ever merciful is He that knows in our weakness, we can only aspire to that, failing daily.