June 17, 2014.
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole word and loses or forfeits himself?” I have been reading through the book of Luke on another trip through the bible. There is an idea that is embedded in the gospels (and throughout the whole bible for that matter) that sometimes we like to over look. How real is this to you? Why do follow Christ? Is it because that’s what your neighborhood does? Is it only because that’s what you were taught to do as a child? Does being at church get you benefits that drive your commitment to Christ? These are not fun questions, and they are questions that I’m sure all of us at some point in our lives would have to give a less than satisfactory answer to.
Jesus doesn’t want passive believers. He doesn’t want those who just want to claim his name and then go about their normal lives. Those that may go to church on Sundays, and if your lucky Wednesday nights as well. No, Jesus called for a different kind of disciple, a follower. One who will live out the gospel as they proclaim it. Why? Because this is real. Sometimes I think it is hard for us to see God because he is not as tangible as he was during the recorded bible times. This does not mean he is any less powerful, or that he doesn’t use his power any more. He has chosen to reveal himself in other ways. In fact, in many ways we might have the better end of the deal. We have the recorded word of God where as this was not always the case. We live in an age where knowledge and biblical commentaries are at our fingertips. We have the blessing of retrospection. Still, for many this is not enough to make Christianity feel real.
We must fight the urge to separate our spiritual life from our everyday life. How many of us are spiritual on Sunday, but when Monday hits its just the same ol’, same ol’? We forget about the good news and go back to striving after the American dream, or what we call success. This really a waste of the Christian worldview because it is not living up to the grand potential that could be had. I would suggested that we are only hurting ourselves when we forget about Christ for most of the week. A later passage in Luke got me thinking about something:
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
What is interesting to me here is that Jesus tells us that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. His good pleasure? Well that certainly makes the story of the prodigal son make sense. Our Father, the Almighty, wants us to be happy. He wants us to share in his glory. But to do that, we must be completely committed to him.
I want to challenge you as you go out this week, incorporate Christ in to your daily walk. This may be as simple of mentioning Jesus to a coworker, or genuinely asking someone you are not that acquainted with if they need help with something. I wouldn’t limit it to this or that. Just as you go out this week, try to be Christ on this earth. That’s what the term Christian means. May God bless you in your endeavors.
Suggested Daily Reading: Luke 9-12.
Grace and peace.