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Friday, September 4, 2009

John 12

All humans learn how to be selfish from birth and, if we don’t do anything intentional about it, it persists and even worsens until the day we die. This is why the words of Jesus in vv.23-26 challenge us to the core. Jesus uses his pending physical death on the cross to talk about another kind of death. As far as I can tell, Jesus says that if someone is going to follow him as a disciple we must be willing to die. This is why he says, “whoever serves me must follow me” (v.26). Jesus is not suggesting that we are to follow him by doing on the cross physically but by picking up our cross daily. He is calling us to a death he died way before he went to the cross. Jesus, before the cross even came, was already dead to self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic living. He laid down his life by living a life of totally abandoned love for God and for people. His decisions were not centered around what he wanted or needed, but glorifying the Father and serving people. We may be tempted to say, “well that was good for Jesus but I’m not him.” True, but he says “follow me,” which means walk as I walk, live as I live.

Many of us realize that Jesus’ words are quite true when he says “if you love your life you’ll lose it but if you lose your life you’ll find it.” My most fulfilling moments in life have come when I was sacrificially and wholeheartedly loving and serving God and people. However, I am constantly tempted toward self-centered living. Even our relationship with God and service in his name can easily become more about us than it is about him. Lord, save us!

Here’s a question for you to consider and, hopefully, post a response to: How has God helped you die to self-centered living? What people, what Scripture, what prayer patterns, etc. have helped you follow Jesus to the cross where ego and selfishness is crucified?


Roberta said...

I struggle with answering because it sounds like bragging somehow. Everything that I have learned in my walk with him has been out of my own pain. Early on I decided that if I had to go through XYZ then I wanted it not to be a waste but that it would result in growth in my life. If I had to experience the difficulty no matter what, I prefer to do it with God rather than without. In experiencing my own hurt I am able to relate to other's loneliness and hurt. I had to make choices. Who would I be? Someone who would retaliate and wallow in self pity; or allow God to use the experiences in my life for good as he has promised he would. I was blessed with memorizing scriptures as a child. They have sustained me and corrected me over my life. I believe that anything good in me is Him. I believe that he gives me the desire to not be selfish - but I must be willing for him to do that work in me. That is my prayer

esallo said...

Throughout my life God has used people to help me follow Jesus to the cross where ego and selfishness are crucified. Sometimes these people have been family members, sometimes they are people He literally brings across my back yard. When I feel like I don't want to be selfless with these people God faithfully reminds me of the passage in Matthew 25: 34-40. At the end of the passage it says, "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you. to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"
It gets me every time!

maria cicala said...

Along my walk with the Lord many people have been instrumental in helping me to follow Jesus. As you have said Roberta I too have learned that through my own pain I experienced growth in my life. One of my favorite of many verses is found in Isaiah 61:3 especially the part of the verse that says To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Through it all God shows himself and we grow, to in the process.