We’re now about three weeks in to Lent, or almost half way. And I have to say I’m not enjoying it that much. All this giving up stuff to focus more on Jesus in my life is not exactly working out as I’d expected. Because when I really focus on Jesus, he’s not calling me to give up “stuff.”
He’s calling me to die.
Which is not nearly as easy as giving up meat for 40 days.
Everywhere I look, this is the message. Every book I read. Every devotional. Today Cultural Savage posted on “Obeying Love” and asked what commands of Jesus Christians are supposed to obey. He quoted John 15:12-13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In case you missed it, Jesus loved us so much he died. His command is that we love each other the same way, because greater love has no man than to… lay down his life. Which is really just poetic talk meaning: die.
He asks us to take up our cross daily, and at the end of the day taking up a cross only has one destination – death. John the Baptist said he baptized for repentance; Jesus’ baptism symbolized his burial and resurrection. If we follow him – see? – you don’t bury people who are still alive. When you look for it, (or have the Spirit sort of putting your request for greater intimacy in your face) you see that the New Testament is full of this concept. She said with some annoyance.
Yet in today’s world of social media self-promotion, it’s a completely backwards concept. We want to do great things for God. We want to have an impact for the Kingdom. We want God to bless our incredible plans and ideas for his good. But Jesus just asks us to follow him – and die. And that’s all. Then allow Him to decide what happens next.
And what I really want to do is point out to all you other self-absorbed believers that you need to die too, dangit!
And just like that… I’m reminded of the selfish and judgmental attitudes I have that won’t just go away.
They have to die.