“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” -Matthew 10:37-39
Wow. This is a profound verse, straight from the mouth of Jesus himself. It is a really challenging one. This is directly opposite to what our culture teaches and what we usually spend most of our days trying to do.
I spent most of my teenage years trying to figure out who I am. I’m sure almost everyone can resonate with that. I am still young and sometimes struggle with who I am. I often wonder, “what is MY identity?”; “what makes ME who I am?”; “what makes ME tick?”. I try and figure that out by observing and creating my style and outward appearance. I try and create a music pallet to show who I am and what I am like. I try and find things that I am truly interested in and pursue them. I watch hockey, I like graffiti art, I love interior design, and I like being with my family and friends and hanging out to have a good time. I am shy, but passionate. I am sort of a perfectionist and I like my house to be tidy. I like to sing, I like to go camping, I like to surround myself with people that I am close to and don’t feel the need to be shy around. That is what I have figured out about myself. God created me to be me, but in this verse, he is directly challenging me to give up all of these things for a greater purpose. Give them up?! I spent so much time finding them! See the challenge here?
God wants us to be wholly and completely devoted to him, and his plans. He says here that we should love him above our own families (and this includes friends too). He says that we should drop everything to follow him just like the disciples did. He says that we need to give up our passions and interests and hobbies (our lives), and find our new life in Him, his plans, and his will. We need to be able to surrender ourselves to his desires in every aspect of our lives. This means our clothing, our money, our music taste, our interest in books and TV, our favorite past times, our likes, our dislikes, and the list could go on and on.
The reason why I say that this verse directly contradicts our culture is because everywhere we go there are advertisements trying to get us to buy into the idea that we need to have a particular item to help us be who we want to be. We are constantly striving to be different from others and create an identity for ourselves and we do that mostly through consumerism. We are also taught that we should pursue something within our own comfort zone. That we should strive for stability in income and people around us. God wants differently. He wants to know that no matter what he asks of us, we are going to do- no matter how uncomfortable or abnormal for us it may seem.
I struggle with this on a daily basis. I want my house to be clean, God wants me to spend my time doing something else. I want to stick to the friends I know, God wants me to open up and meet new people. I want to watch hockey, God doesn’t want us to have cable because it distracts from his plans. I want to have a stable income, God wanted us to move to a place where we wouldn’t and start a business that seems humanly not possible. I want to dress a certain way, God wants us to spend our money on other things. I want to be around family, but God wanted us to move to a city where we know no one. But he always reminds me through His word that his plans are much larger than what we can see. They are much nobler, and he knows us much better than we could ever know ourselves.
God created us. He knows what makes us tick. He knows where our passions lie, better than we do. He knows how to make our lives the most fulfilling they could ever be, and we can only achieve this by setting our sights on Jesus. Just because he wants us to give up our lives for the life he has for us, doesn’t mean he won’t use our strengths and interests in fulfilling his purpose. He knows us. He knows what is best for us. By surrendering your entire being to him, you are trusting that He is going to use your life in the best way possible.
I don’t want to be distracted by the things of this world if it is taking away from how he wants me to help further his kingdom. I don’t want to worrying about what I want, when he has something much better for me. It’s not always easy to give up these worldly passions of mine, but it is so worth it!
Lord, I want to walk with you, completely surrendered to you and your will. I know that you do what is best for me and I want to look to you for that. I want to care about what you care about, and discard what is worthless to you and to me. Reveal to me ways that I am clinging on to my own life and not the one that you have for me. Transform my life to be wholly yours, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I love the lyrics to this song. “So let my whole life be a blazing offering, a life that shouts and sings the greatness of our king”