Daily Reflection – 2/27/2020
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” ( Luke 9:22-25)
Just imagine if you were an advertising executive and you were asked to develop a campaign for Jesus Christ! What do you think it might be?
Well I think the majority of his message would sound quite sweet. BUT then comes a message like today. That’s where many readers or viewers would suddenly stop listening or watching.
Denying myself and taking on a daily cross? Certainly, Jesus’ call to deny one’s self is as counter cultural today as it has ever been. Even trying to deny ourselves the little things that we enjoy, such as chocolate during Lent, can be a struggle for many of us!
That’s where we run into our stumbling blocks on being true disciples of Christ. We want salvation. We want eternal happiness. But we don’t want to have to do anything hard to get there. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say, just be a good person and you’re in. Nowhere does he say, just say a few magic words and you’re in. Nope. He’s always talking about us having to do things. Things like, having faith. Believing. Being baptized. Attending Church. Studying His word. These are all things we have to do.
So, Jesus is asking you and me a simple question: What will we give in exchange for eternal life with Him? Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. God gives without measure.
A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. The joy He offers no sadness or loss can diminish. But it is only when we are truly prepared to stop living life for ourselves, and start living it for Jesus that we truly find life. That is at the heart of what Jesus is calling us to do. His call is to stop living life our way, and living it His way, following Jesus by imitating his life and obeying his commands.
The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with His will, then Hs will must be done. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?
Prayer of The Day
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will, all that I have and possess. You have given them to me; to you, O Lord, I restore them; all things are yours, dispose of them according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is enough for me.” (Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556)
The season of Lent offers us an opportunity for us think again about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To think about Jesus’ radical call to discipleship. Not everyone who heard Jesus preach, chose to follow him, many turned away sad and disappointed because they weren’t prepared to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. The Christian life can be tough and challenging, but it is only when we live for Jesus that we discover life as it is meant to be lived, because ultimately it is only Jesus who can meet our deepest needs.