some more or less
as a running theme im still praying and pondering the more of jesus less of me thing. and today im diggin into the part where jesus said:
if anyone would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
self denial is not something im into. it means not buying or eating whatever i want. it means not ignoring the problems of others. its really inconvenient and requires intentional engagement in the lives of people id rather not care about. i mean seriously – some people take a lot of work.
and its when i hit that realization that i know i cant do it any other way. i cant ignore the needy. not bc im obligated or commanded to but bc christ didnt ignore me. and in paying attention to me he didnt leave me where i was with a few pleasant senitments either.
jesus invaded my broken corrupt heart and began the long process of restoring his image. and as he does so im compelled by this new nature he is working in me to actually do something about the pain and suffering and injustice in the world – especially right here where i am.
on top of this self denial thing jesus apparently wants me dead. that whole grab a cross thing just isnt appealing. it means not only do i need to say no to me – ive got to go ahead and kill me right off. the me that wants comfort and ease and luxury or at the very least a reasonable amount of disposable income.
but thats the point. and in fact this is where i got all twisted up about a week ago listening to a sermon by pastor mark over at providence community church in plano. he was using the parable of the dishonest mgr in luke 16 to make a point about how we should use our money to benefit the poor for the sake of the kingdom.
and tho this seems like it should be a no-brainer i look around and have to wonder am i doing this? am i living in such a way as to benefit those in need with that which god has blessed me? am i making hard decisions that force my own death? the death of my desires and wants for the sake of others?
there this little chunk of philippians that ive been mulling over for a good while now:
you have to think like jesus who – tho he was in all reality god – he didnt hang on to that too tightly but became nothing and took the form of a servant being born a man. and being a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of a humiliating and painful death.
and this is where i think what it means to follow christ lands right in the middle of my comfort zone and starts kicking. if i am a follower of jesus – if thats what i dare to call myself – then humbling myself and stepping out of my life into the mess of someone elses brokenness has got to be the norm. it cant be something i consider good from a distance.
i have to get my hands and feet dirty.
become a servant.
and these arent obligations. at least for me. its not a matter of what i have to do. its a matter of my proximity to jesus and who i am becoming as a result.
less of me.
more of him.