Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Midweek Meditation: "Died to the Wrong Things?"

Christianity is not a killjoy faith. It does not mean we deny ourselves the good things in life. It just means we learn to deny ourselves things that prevent us from following Christ in the best possible way. Peter Scazzero makes this observation.

"Jesus does call us to die to ourselves. 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me' (Mark 8:34). The problem was that we had died to the wrong things. We mistakenly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the Gospel meant dying to self-care, to feelings of sadness, to anger, to grief, to doubt, to struggles, to our healthy dreams and desires, and to passions we had enjoyed before our marriage." (Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, p22)

There is a difference between living a humble life and a miserable life. The former willingly gives up earthly possessions. The latter unwillingly surrenders his things. The former looks forward to the joy. The latter looks back fondly to the things of old. The key is to look at Mark 8:34 more closely. It is not the dying, but the pursuit of Christ. Just think about courtship. For a guy who longs to spend time with the girl he likes, what is a nice dinner? He will even give up his own inconveniences for the sake of making it more convenient for his sweetheart. When his eyes are on the girl, everything else is not as important.

When our eyes are on the Lord, we will learn to appropriately deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. Pray with an eye on seeking God more intently.

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