Friday, 20 January 2012

Become a Christian and lose your life

No, I'm not writing about martyrdom again! I'm back to thinking about what exactly Jesus meant by calling his message 'good news'. I've just read a blog post from my friend, Dave Smiffy. He's been thinking about Jesus' words in Luke 9:
If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

Dave Smiffy says he's deeply troubled by Jesus' words here, and I think that might just be the right reaction! But then how should we tell people about Jesus? 'Hey friend, become a Christian and lose your life, turn from your selfish ways!' Not an appealing message? I'm with Dave:
Is this the message I want to be giving to people, that to follow Jesus means denying oneself and taking up a cross? It leaves me questioning whether I want to follow Jesus, let alone preach this message.

Maybe though, this message is more real than the kind that implies God will sort everything out in our life if we become Christians. Jesus' invitation to take up your cross and lose your life is not such an instantly attractive offer, of course. But perhaps it's a message that can weather the tragedies and disappointments all of us will face at some point. And perhaps we just have to be faithful in presenting this message, unvarnished and unsweetened, while trusting God to do his work (as we also live the message faithfully too, of course).


  1. Re: 'turn from your selfish ways!' Not an appealing message?' But it needs to be said - and deep down everyone knows it. Selfishness does not eq. fulfilment. There'll always be someone with a nicer house, newer car, bigger tv, more money etc. etc. You cannot buy happiness, you cannot buy friendship, you cannot buy trust, you cannot buy health, love and respect. They all know that, because they all know the loneliness, insecurity and doubt that comes with selfishness.

    What they need to hear is that they can have happiness, they can have friendship, trust, health love and respect. What does it cost? Absolutely nothing. Deny yourself that which does not satisfy and delight in the richest of fare!

    Isa 55:
    1 Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
    and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
    2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
    Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
    3 Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.

  2. Yeah, this sounds great - and I wish I could confidently echo your statement, Lee. But not all Christians have health, neither do all Christians have love, nor respect. Unless you mean love and respect from God, of course. But certainly not all Christians have health, even if you take that to mean spiritual health; right?

  3. Then you could always delete health and insert free coffee and doughnuts. Less messy. However, rather than talking about what church can do for them, would stick to how they might expect to see the power of God move in their lives - so sticking with my original statement. As far as I know, no-one ever gave up their life for a doughnut.