Friday, September 04, 2009

A Line In The Sand

Are you ready to step over the line and get serious for Jesus?

Mark 8:34-38  Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

Jesus taught many times on the concept of denying self and living to serve others. I think that sometimes we forget that the things that he taught were not instructions for the exclusive benefit of the twelve disciples but they are instructions for all of us. Here in this passage Jesus spoke to the disciples and to the crowd that had gathered around and he gave them some important instructions on how to be his follower.

Rule number 1: Turn from your selfish ways.
Yikes! What Jesus is demanding of those who follow him, those who choose to be publicly identified as his follower, is a total 180 degrees turning away from the pursuit of all personal agendas, never to return to them. Exactly opposite of our natural human desires, forget about them, the follower of Christ must be seeking to please the desires of the Father.

Rule number 2: Take up your cross.
Right here where I am today I have a mission field, most likely God already has me in the mission field that I am supposed to be working in, this isn't a call to go far from home to start doing his work.
What God may be waiting for is for me to stop pursuing my own interests and make the interests of others a top priority. As his follower I am called to do what he did, I must wash feet, rub elbows with the downtrodden, accept rejection, endure ridicule, expect to be persecuted, and carry a cross.

What extreme requirements, the fact that they are completely opposite of our sinful nature makes them seem harsh, but what is the alternative? If I spend all my time dwelling on my happiness and grabbing all the stuff that will supposedly bring fulfillment then Jesus said in the end I will lose all the my stuff and I will lose my life.

What benefit is it to me if I work to obtain my share of everything that the world has to offer but in the end its only stuff that belongs to this world and in this world its gonna stay.

What benefit is it to me if I am constantly looking out for number 1 and in my selfish endeavours I never see the one need that must be met for the protection of my soul? Humans spend so much time trying to fill "needs" that we think are so valuable and we don't see the most valuable need that we have.

Taking up my cross can lead to doing unpleasant things, being rejested or laughed at or even persecuted but still I am told to pick up my cross without embarrassment or shame so that my Savior will not be ashamed of me.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Give me a greater urgency to do the good works that you have called me to do, give me boldness to live for you despite the opposition that will come my way.

Jesus has drawn a line in the sand, if I want to be his follower then I have to choose to live to please the Father and to do the good works that he has called me to do.