When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Jesus isn’t going to leave us to ourselves and he isn’t going to let us go on living our lives the same old way we have been living all along.  He wants to be our sufficiency and he will stop at nothing to help us see him as such.  Jesus-followers are not self-sufficient—Jesus would merely be a side-bar if it were so.  Jesus is the entire shooting match or he is nothing.  Jesus takes a back-seat to no one and he is not fond of riding shotgun in the front passengers seat either.   

In an era of self, a message of freedom that begins by dying to the self is foreign and odd.  But even so, it is staggering to consider the hoards of folks who throw caution to the wind—and with it all restraint—and live exclusively for themselves just to crash again and again into a deeper and deeper pit of despair.

Jesus and his disciples were having one of their family times one afternoon as Jesus had just returned from one of his usual prayer walks—they were now engaging in a discussion about just who it was that he was:

 Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.’    (Luke 9:23-27, The Message Bible) 

It’s in living for and because of God that we begin to live free—only when we get out of the small little world of me  can we celebrate any sort of true freedom.  Selfishness is no substitute for the liberty found in following Jesus and the joy of following him in being free enough to share our lives with all of those within our reach.                

Freedom is measured by death to self and aliveness to God and others.

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