Updated: Apr 24, 2022
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Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. - Matthew 16:24-25
Okay, hard question: How do you feel about change?
Are you okay with change only when it benefits you personally, or are you okay with change if there is a benefit to the greater good? Are you okay with change when it's convenient or are you okay with making inconvenient, uncomfortable sacrifices?
Unfortunately, I've seen more people recently who are only okay with the first options. If change positively affects them, it's all good. But if there is any inconvenience or sacrifice necessary, change is a no go.
I can be transparent here... I actually am okay with change. Mostly.
I am all for shaking trees. Ruffling feathers. Doing things differently.
For example, I've recently had to start planning to hire a new staff at work. People keep asking me if I'm okay with the abrupt shift and am I stressed out, etc. While it's not a fun or a convenient process, I'm comfortable with the change and looking forward to hiring my own staff to build my own team. An obvious short term disruption will ultimately turn into a positive move for my function and the company I work for. I mentioned to another leader on my team trying that I was trying to not take this adjustment personal; she reminded me that it's not about me. The transition was sparked by events before I even took this role AND…change is good.
Here is the message…
We have to be able to take a step back and view the bigger picture. Whatever is happening in our lives, whatever shifts or changes are occurring, whatever seems to be happening to us may require some sacrifice... BUT if we keep our focus on God, we will realize the greater good. It's easy to internalize situations, only considering the inconvenience of the sacrifice. It's easy to become frustrated and cry woe is me. It's easy to blame others and give up. I want us to really digest, however, that not only is change inevitable, sacrifice is necessary.
I like this definition of sacrifice: "to surrender something for the sake of something else".
This is the type of sacrifice that Jesus was trying to get the disciples to understand in the quoted text above. Now, sometimes we misunderstand this text to mean that Jesus was telling the disciples (us) that there are some burdens in life we just have to deal with. While that may be the case (burdens to bear), what Jesus is really saying is that if we say we are believers, we should be willing to sacrifice for Him (like He carried His cross and died for us). That’s what the cross symbolizes. Not just a burden but a willingness to surrender (give up) something for the sake of Jesus. Jesus had just told Peter in vs 23 that he needs to stop looking at things from a human point of view. In Luke, we also see the word "daily" in the same story that Matthew is telling. Long story short, it’s a constant, daily decision to view life from a Christ like perspective and put His will before our own!
Are we willing to sacrifice for Christ in the way He did for us? What are you holding onto that is only a benefit for you, but not a benefit for God, Jesus, your family and broader community.
It's time to let it go and remember… It's not about you! Take up your cross and follow Jesus on the path to the greater good!
Live outside the box. Live in purpose. Live on purpose.
Peace. Blessings. Love.
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