My family makes fun of me because I frequently drive on auto-pilot. I get going and because I normally only drive a handful of places I get there. Problems come up when we deviate from the normal schedule. Jenny anticipates it now, she’ll say, “Don’t forget, we’re going to run by Target first.” It doesn’t even bother me, because in fact I had already forgot.
We zone out. We mindlessly go from task to task based on our routine. This isn’t a rhythm that brings us life, it’s a rut that traps us. This is no way to live. The way to get out of it is to be knocked out of it.
Jesus has to knock the disciples out of auto-pilot. They are on auto-pilot imagining their corner offices in Jerusalem. Jesus knowing that they are expecting grandeur calls them back to reality.
Mark 8:34-36 (NIV) Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
Jesus says, “Come follow me. In faith, take that first step, but know that following me, really following me involves sacrifice. We’re not going to Jerusalem to set up an office. I’m going to Jerusalem to be nailed to a cross. My agenda is love.” Jesus is about showing love in a practical way. He’ll go to the cross to show you how much he loves you and what he’s willing to do to save you.
Sacrifice is the pruning that makes room for more life! It cuts away what’s dead and unwanted to make room for God to move. It makes space for God to do something new in our lives.
Think of it this way carrying the cross takes two hands. You can’t hold anything else when you carry it. Sacrifices like tithing, sitting in silence, fasting, volunteering, taking time to show you care are all tools that keep our hands empty to receive more from God. Giving up something through the lenten season like social media or news allow us more time to hear from God. So, take the challenge let go and grab hold of the cross with both hands.