Jesus was talking to a crowd when He went straight to the bottom line of what it would mean for anyone to follow Him: “You’ll have to quit being so selfish.”
I imagine that He’s talking to quite a crowd of us today, too. I’ll not point fingers this morning, though, because this word hit the target when it hit my own heart.
Then He said to the crowd, “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?
There’s so much in this familiar passage, but I was stopped today by His first statement: Stop being so selfish.
Selfishness is the root of so many of our problems; it tarnishes our relationships and ruins our witness and discipleship. We want what we want, we have our “rights”, we need to express ourselves, fulfill what we were born to be …
But for the children of God, all of those things have changed. Christ asks His disciples to be expressing Him. Our purpose now is to achieve His mission. We were born (the second time) to be children of the Father, the image of Christ.
Jesus’ statement is blunt: To be my disciple, you must turn from your selfish ways. How can we possibly hem and haw and try to dodge what He’s saying there? Every one of us knows exactly what He’s talking about.
George MacDonald tells us how to be a disciple in very simple instructions. “Get up and do it,” he says. “Or don’t do it.”
I will tell you. Get up, and do something the Master tells you; so make yourself his disciple at once. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, Do it, or once abstained because he said, Do not do it. *
That’s a pretty simple, clear test.
Spirit, alert me when I’m going down selfish paths today.
*from Creation in Christ
Scripture: Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)