Hunkered Down Devotion

Luke 9:23-25 (Voice)
23 If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. 24 If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full. 25 Listen, what good does it do you if you gain everything—if the whole world is in your pocket—but then your own life slips through your fingers and is lost to you?


In the days of Covid, we don’t get to do this at all, but one of my favorite things to do is go and spend some unrushed time in a bookstore.  We love to do that as a family and coffee and a bookstore has qualified as ‘date night’ for Traci more times than I can count.  I have always loved to read, and though I seem to have little time for leisure reading these days, I still love to wander through the shelves looking for that next book to capture my imagination or unlock previously unknown insights.

One of my pet peeves, however, is when I am in a bookstore and all of the Christian books are found in the ‘self-help’ section.  Don’t get me wrong, I get it.  Especially in smaller bookstores, with fewer sections, it is the most obvious place for these books to go, but it never sits right with me.  

It is frustrating to me, because it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about.  Again, I am not saying that our faith and trust in Jesus won’t turn us into better people, or that it won’t help us – of course I believe that it will do both.  It’s just that’s not the point.

Most of the self-help section is about personal improvement, overcoming your past, improving your finances, or understanding yourself better.  These are all good and worthy pursuits.  But the life of faith and faithfulness that Jesus Christ calls us to is not about making us better or even about getting what we want out of life.
 
This is why Jesus proclaims in today’s gospel passage: If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. 24 If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full.

The call of Christ on our lives, the path of following Jesus isn’t about getting our best life now, but rather about denying ourselves and living a life of sacrificial love for God and others.  Self-improvement and protection will tell us to limit risk and take care of ourselves, but Jesus calls us to ‘risk all for my sake’, because it is only then that we will be ‘rescued, healed, made whole and full.’

The way of Jesus isn’t to seek things for ourselves, but rather to offer ourselves up for the good of all and the glory of God.  

Sharing God’s Love, 
Chip  

Prayer:    Lord, help us to live a cruciform life in your image, carrying our crosses and following you in the way of service and love. Amen.

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