Why You Can’t Gain by Losing

Why You Can’t Gain by Losing September 18, 2023

You can’t gain by losing. We all know people who try to improve their lives by focusing on what they don’t want. It doesn’t work. Instead, Jesus offers the One Thing that will make you happy.

Female feet standing on scale, bound by measuring tape
Image by SHVETS production on Pexels

Some people you and I know decided that it was best to lose some weight. They told themselves, “I hate all these extra pounds. I need to lose all these extra pounds.’ But the more they told themselves that, the more they focused on those pounds. We tend to get more and more of what we focus on. In this case, that’s more pounds.

Others we both know decided that their lives would be better if they quit smoking. So, they focused on not smoking. They told themselves how much they didn’t want cigarettes. But in all their focus on not smoking, guess what they were thinking about—Smoking! Since we tend to get more of what we think about, it was really difficult for them to quit smoking.

We’ve all known people who did the same thing with difficult relationships, debt, addictions, frustrating jobs, and more. The problem is that when you focus on the things that frustrate you, the more frustrated you become. When you say, “I want to cut this terrible thing out of my life,” if that terrible thing is what you’re focused on, you tend to get more of that terrible thing. You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.


Steep Yourself in God-Reality

So, what’s the solution? In Matthew 6:30-33 MSG, Jesus says:

“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

So, don’t focus on losing weight. Instead, focus on gaining the health that God wants for you. Forget about losing that debt that keeps you bound. Instead, concentrate on gaining the freedom God has imagined for you. Don’t perseverate on the addiction you need to kick. Instead, keep your attention on the sobriety God has promised you. You can’t gain by continually thinking about all the things you want to lose. You can only grow by reaching upward, not looking downward.


Here are some key points to consider:

  • Focus on the positive: Instead of constantly thinking about what you want to eliminate or lose, concentrate on the positive aspects of your life and the things you want to achieve. This might involve setting specific goals and working towards them with a positive mindset.
  • Shift towards self-improvement: Rather than dwelling on your flaws or shortcomings, invest your energy in personal growth and development. This can include learning new skills, developing healthy habits, and nurturing positive relationships.
  • Embrace gratitude: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the blessings you already have in your life. By appreciating what you have, you create a more positive and abundant mindset.
  • Trust the process: Have faith that as you focus on becoming a better person and seeking what aligns with your values and aspirations, the negative elements you want to leave behind will naturally fade away.
  • Seek support: Surround yourself with people who encourage and support your personal growth. Having a positive and supportive community can help you stay on track and reinforce your efforts.
  • Be patient and gentle with yourself: Making lasting changes takes time and effort. Avoid being too hard on yourself if you encounter setbacks or challenges along the way. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion as you work towards your goals.


Accentuate the Positive

Remember that making positive changes in your life is an ongoing journey, and there might be moments of struggle. However, by focusing on growth, positivity, and what you truly desire, you can create a more fulfilling and rewarding life. Seeking God first means growing in love, grace, and goodness. The closer you get to God, the further you get from the things you want to eliminate. You don’t have to focus on what you don’t want, to get rid of things that are harmful for you. Instead, as the old song says, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” In other words, you eliminate the negative by accentuating the positive. Simply trust God to take care of all these things.


For Related reading, check out my other articles:

The Beatitudes: Continuum of Spiritual Growth

Wrestling with God Builds Spiritual Muscle

Why Do Christians Act Like Monkeys?


About Gregory Smith
I live in the beautiful Fraser Valley of British Columbia and work in northern Washington State as a behavioral health specialist with people experiencing homelessness and those who are overly involved in the criminal justice system. Before that, I spent over a quarter-century as lead pastor of several Virginia churches. My newspaper column, “Spirit and Truth” ran in Virginia newspapers for a dozen years. My wife Christina and I have seven children between us, and we are still collecting grandchildren. You can read more about the author here.
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