34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, (Jesus) said,
"If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must turn from your selfish ambition,
take up your cross,
and follow me.
35 If you try to hang on to your life,
you will lose it.
But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News,
you will save it.
36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
37 Is anything worth more than your soul?
38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Jesus doesn't give us any wiggle room here.
If we hang on to our life,
keep control of it,
make the decisions about it,
& insist on making it a “my way or the highway” kind of deal,
well, all we desire won't happen.
if we let go of control of it,
& make whatever God wants what we want,
we will find a life that is really true living.
By letting go of control of our lives,
that frees God up to create in us the life we dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.
He then points our how stupid to try & make our own way,
creating a life filled with all the thing we deem important that are temporary,
all the while missing out on the life & losing our connection with Him.
We live in a world where the individual is of utmost importance.
It is a world where our individual desires, wants, hopes, ambitions, & “gotta haves” reign supreme.
But Jesus tells us here to let go of our lives.
He says to trust God with our lives, & in that trusting & letting go, we will finally find the life best suited for each of us.
This goes against everything the world tells us.
We have to look our for ourselves.
We pick & choose our destiny.
We're the ones in control.
We pursue & know “our truth”, which may be truth for us, but not truth for others.
I'm sorry – I thought truth was truth – and there are certain things that are true for everyone.
Of course, the world believes there is no absolute truth except there is no absolute truth.
Does anyone see the oxymoron of that statement?
So what do we do with this passage?
We let go of our lives, in the big stuff, & in the day to day stuff.
We trust God with our lives.
We choose to live the God life.
There are 3 types of life – the good life, the great life, & the God life.
(My friend & sister, Beth White, talks about the paradigm a lot.)
The GOOD life is one where we acknowledge Jesus as Savior, but we keep in control of our lives, - we live “the American Dream” life.
There isn't much challenge to this life.
It's safe, & good.
The GREAT life is one where we decide to do stuff for God, but we keep the control of what that stuff may be.
It's a life that we can make happen under our own steam.
We do some pretty kool stuff for God, but it's stuff we pick & choose to be & do for God.
The GOD life is one of total abandonment to God.
We say yes to whatever, whoever, whenever, wherever, & however God wants to be & do in our lives.
We can't pull off this life in our own strength – we are totally dependent on God to work through us to make it happen.
It is a life that is forever changing, morphing, challenging us, & meaning something to the people around us.
The GOD life is not for the faint of heart.
That's why so few choose it.
Most of us settle for the good life.
Some of us choose the great life.
And only a few truly let go of their lives & let God truly take control.
But oh the life we find if we let go & let God do with us & our lives as He dreamed.