Why is it that we feel the need to be in control? It’s foolish if you take risks, or don’t have a plan with guaranteed success. We run after things, like processions, jobs, titles, adventures, money…you name it. I’m guilty. I run towards those thing more often than I would like to admit.
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? Luke 9:23-25
Jesus is pretty clear…we are to give up our self seeking things, pick up our torture device and follow after him! Where is the line between wisdom and foolishness when it comes to following Christ? I mean seriously! Jesus says to “pick up our cross daily,” he says “give up your life for me.” I’m sure there is some great sermon out there about the metaphorical meaning here…but what if we take Jesus words at face value?
“Try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.” Well that doesn’t make sense! It’s “wise” to invest in a 401k, to buy a home, to build security for your family. And in and of themselves I wouldn’t say those things are wrong. But I believe God has called us to radical abandonment of our selves and full submission to Him. And honestly that’s a hard pill for me to swallow!
My dad died suddenly on April 30th from a heart attack. It was completely unexpected and right smack in the middle of Missions Conference. So many thoughts, feelings and emotions consumed me! It’s been just over a month since my dad’s passing and over these last 45 days I’ve spent so much time reflecting and seeking my daddy in heaven. Careful to only listen to His voice and not the voice of the enemy or the voices from within myself.
Some of the things surfacing in my reflection were 1) What kind of legacy did my dad leave behind? 2) What was the meaning and purpose in his life? and 3) What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
My ultimate vision/goal/plan/dream…whatever you want to call it, is to point people to Jesus! I want others to see how much I love him, and how he drastically changed my life! I want people to fall more in love with Jesus because of me, for them to be exposed to the redeeming love, forgiveness, and freedom of Christ! I want to obey all of Christ commands, especially to “go” and make disciples! No matter where I am, what I’m doing, but that I would always have a heart to see opportunities to share how Jesus changed my life, set me free from sexual sin, lying, self-deprecation, depression, anxiety, shame…you name it! His love for me is endless, and it is for you too!
All this to say, is following Christ foolish when it looks like taking your three small daughters to Thailand with no income other than the generosity and support of our fellow believers? Is it foolish to follow Christ out of a safe secure job, a safe nation, a comfortable place all for the sake of sharing Jesus with people who have never had the chance to hear of this grace, this love, this freedom? Are their lives less valuable than mine or the lives of my children? No.
What does radical abandonment look like? I guess for me it ultimately comes down to faith! Do I really believe God’s word to be true and am I going to live my life like I believe it. I’m not sure what it might look like for you, I believe the Holy Spirit is illuminating those areas you are holding tight to in your heart. For us radical abandonment just means saying “yes” to God.
“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (Romans 10:14)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
Here we are, Lord. Our hearts are willing! Send me!
I guess for me it ultimately comes down to faith! Do I really believe God’s word to be true and am I going to live my life like I believe it.