Lose My Soul
(featuring Kirk Franklin & Mandisa)
Main Point of Discussion:
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
The Song: “Lose My Soul”
TobyMac’s “Lose My Soul,” which appears on his albums Alive and Transported and Portable Sounds, is an oldie (relatively speaking) but still very much a goodie—and quite popular with teens. It was one of six chart-topping tunes from the former dcTalk member, and it also garnered awards for video of the year and pop video of the year—bolstered mightily with cameos from Kirk Franklin and former American Idol finalist Mandisa.
This discussion will use the song as a springboard to talk about the importance of putting God and a relationship with him above everything else, the ultimate emptiness of material things and worldly pursuits, continually placing our minds and hearts on heaven and eternity.
Introducing the song—SAY THIS:
“Here’s a song most of you have heard a few times—probably more than a few! It was #1 on the charts and won awards for video of the year. We’re talking about TobyMac’s “Lose My Soul,” and its rock-solid lyrics have a lot to teach us about how to live out our Christian lives. Let’s check out the video.”
Play “Lose My Soul” video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coHKdhAZ9hU)
Large Group questions—SAY THIS:
- What are some of the messages you heard from this song?
Let me read a small portion of the lyrics:
Song Lyrics: “Lose My Soul”
Father God, I am clay in your hands
Help me to stay that way through all life’s demands
’Cause they chip, and they nag, and they pull at me
And every little thing I make up my mind to be
Like I’m a be a daddy whose in the mix
And I’m a be a husband who stays legit
And I pray that I’m an artist who rises above
The road that is wide and filled with self love
Everything that I see draws me
Though it’s only in you that I can truly see that it’s a feast for the eyes
A low-blow to purpose
And I’m a little kid at a three-ring circus
I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul
(Don’t wanna walk away, let me hear the people say)
(Mr. Franklin, step up to the mic, sir)
(Kirk Franklin rap)
Check it out
The paparazzi flashes, and they think think that it’s you
But they don’t know that who you are is not what you do
True, we get it twisted when we peak at the charts
Yo, before we part from the start
Where’s your heart?
You a pimp? Hustler?
Tell me what’s your title?
America has no more stars, now we call them idols
You sit idle while we teach prosperity
The first thing to prosper should be inside of me
Not because of 22s on the range
But Christ came in range, we said yes now we changed
Not the same, even though I made a fall
Since I got that call, no more Saul, now I’m Paul
Check out the first lyric line I just read to you: “Father, I am clay in your hands.” That’s a familiar concept to many of us, but let’s look at the words a little closer. If we can bend, shape, and create anything we want from a piece of clay, what do you suppose it means that we’re the clay in God’s hands? (that God can mold and shape us; create us; push and pull and nudge us toward the end vision God has in mind for us)
The next few lines of lyrics talk about things in life that take up space in our minds and hearts that “chip” and “nag” and “pull” at us. What does TobyMac say he wants to be—in spite of the things of this world that battle him? (a good father, a good husband, an unselfish and Christ-focused artist)
What’s the relationship between God molding us like clay and us steering clear of worldly demands on our spiritual lives? (If we don’t allow God to mold us and shape us and work in our hearts, we’ll be a lot more susceptible to the drawing power of earthly pursuits.)
How does TobMac characterize what happens to him when he’s sucked in by the stuff of the earth? (It’s like a feast for his eyes; it’s like a sucker-punch to the purpose God has for him; he’s like a little kid going nuts at a circus with all its fun action.)
Transition Statement—to Divide into Small Groups:
TobyMac is setting us up for the challenges we humans face while temporarily residing on planet earth—namely making some major day-to-day priorities as we evaluate what’s helping us get closer to God…and what’s actually pushing us away from God. The goal, obviously, is to spend our time doing things that improve our relationship with God. But he has one more major point to make—and, like many of his lyrics, it’s taken directly from the Bible. Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Let’s go around the circle, share our names, and tell each other about how we felt when we finally got that object or toy or pursuit we’d been dreaming about possessing for a long time. How you feel about that object-toy-pursuit now?
- ASK A FEW: In Kirk Franklin’s rap, what things does he describe that get in the way of seeing God? (peaking on the charts, getting your photo taken, fame, fortune, self-identity wrapped up in exterior things, status, good looks, etc.)
- ASK A FEW: What kinds of things in your life get in the way of seeing God?
- ASK A FEW: Money—especially in these days of a very poor economy—is foremost on many people’s minds. Even in many Christians’ minds. What does Kirk say about “prosperity”?
Read the Following Passage of Scripture:
Matthew 16:21-24 (NIV)
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
ASK SOMEONE: What verse in this passage relates most directly to the song/video? (Verse 26: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?)
ASK A FEW: Objectively, that’s a pretty sensible and logical statement. In other words, assuming that most people—no matter what their religion—believe they have eternal souls, they naturally want to give up whatever they need to give up in order to save their souls. Or do they? (Not necessarily. People, even Christians, get sidetracked and lazy about eternal questions because the pull of the “here and now” is so consistently strong.)
ASK SOMEONE: Let’s look deeper into this passage. What is happening in Jesus’ ministry journey when he asks the question in verse 26? (Jesus has just told the disciples that he must suffer and die.)
ASK SOMEONE: What is the reaction to Jesus foretelling his suffering and death? (Peter won’t hear of it; he tells Jesus that he mustn’t let it happen.)
ASK A FEW: Put yourself in Peter’s position (i.e., not having full knowledge of Jesus’ ultimate purpose). Can you see yourself reacting the same way? Or some other way?
ASK SOMEONE: How does Jesus respond to Peter’s assertion? (He says “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”)
ASK A FEW: Do you think Jesus is calling Peter “Satan”? Or is Jesus speaking directly to Satan for using Peter to try to change his plans?
ASK A FEW: Jesus has an important reason for reacting so strongly to Peter’s emotional and uninformed comment: Besides dying for our sins, what else does Jesus hope that his death will do in the lives of his followers (verses 24 and 25)? (“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”)
Heading Toward the Wrap Up…
AROUND THE CIRCLE: There are a lot of things happening in this passage. Which of them shed light for you regarding Jesus’ statement about gaining the whole world versus losing our souls?
Wrap Up—SAY THIS:
All people, whether they’re Christians or not, make decisions about their eternal lives. Even if that means they ignore the issue, that’s a decision! It’s unavoidable. Jesus (as augmented by TobyMac’s song) pushes the issue to a powerful conclusion: What good is it if—in this life of seven or eight decades at most—that we were rich, powerful, beautiful, hedonistic, self-serving, etc., then at death we give up not just all our worldly stuff forever…but our souls forever, too?
Doesn’t make much sense, huh? It’s like asking someone, “Do you want the million dollars…or the penny?” (And the dope takes the penny!) Of course faith plays into it—Christ asks us to give up what we can see for something that we can’t. That’s a tough trade-off for a lot of people. Especially the costs that come with it, like dying to self, taking up our cross, following, obeying, sacrificing—you get the idea.
If you’re a believer tonight, you’ve already made that decision. But sometimes we need reminding about what our ultimate goal is—and about how to get there. Life sidetracks us, distracts us, and a lot of times, just shreds us to the point where we start wondering if God is real and our faith is real. But it is—we know that to be true because of what God’s already done in our lives this side of heaven. So we have to keep going, with God’s help.
If you’re not a believer tonight, we’re glad you’re here. We hope we’ve made you feel welcome and made you think a little bit, too. This was a powerful music video and a powerful passage from the Bible. We hope God is speaking to you right now and that you’ll listen to what he has to say about eternal life—a decision you’re going to make one way or another. We pray your decision will be with Jesus and the life he’s calling you to.
Close in Prayer for believers first, then offer prayer of salvation to nonbelievers.
Written by Dave Urbanski