Flights of Faith

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Denying Oneself: What Does It Look Like?

Luke 9: 20

[Jesus] said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
Luk 9:21
And he straitly charged them, and commanded [them] to tell no man that thing;
Luk 9:22
Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
Luk 9:23
And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Luk 9:25
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
Luk 9:26
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father's, and of the holy angels.
Luk 9:27
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

We've all probably read or heard this verse. It's often used to juxtapose Peter's eventual denial of Christ. In the same way that it seemed to be so easy for Peter to confess Christ as Savior, it also seems easy to interpret this verse some 2000 years later. But let's ask ourselves. What does this look like? Disengaged from the Bible just as Peter was disengaged from Jesus (let us remember this is voluntary on our parts), our lives are all the more human. God only exists as a defensive front. We take over the rest.

Denying ourselves cannot be interpreted as simply saying we're Christians. It's a start but how many Christians have fallen because Christ's work has become their work and the righteousness of Christ's message has become that of their own? So, again, what does denying ourselves look like? Must we say "Well, thanks for saying I'm a great guy...but it's only because of Christ"? Yes and no. It is important for us to live a message of Christ. Words are, in fact, important, and I think that's why Jesus asks them to be spoken when he obviously knows the answer as well as Peter's answer. But if we keep speaking, we stop the process of divine synthesis. Not knowledge being mapped onto a situation. Instead, the space where the logic gap of this Earth creaks to remind humans of the Unknown, begging them to find Glory in the Truth.

As Christians, denying ourselves in the faith process is the most important step for reconnecting to God each morning. Moreover, God gives us such divine wisdom by encouraging us to take up our cross and follow him each day. According to Jesus, our crosses do not separate us from God; rather, they position us to follow him. Think about how much Jesus must have been focusing on God while carrying his physical cross. God would not place a burden on ourselves that limits further glimpses of Grace. Our struggles demand them in order for us to be delivered out of them, not necessarily with an earthly change but through God's transforming love in our lives.

Lastly, we cannot be ashamed of any of this. We should be just as joyful being soldiers for the Lord as some imagery depicts or as serfs. There is a time for courage informed by God's strength and a time for humility informed by God's prodigiousness. We must not become too attached (in a human understanding) to either nor make them mutually exclusive. Just as Jesus managed to be humble on the cross and not boast of or perform His miraculous powers, we should strive to pray earnestly for God to give us strength, humility, and the wisdom to rely on You to determine what our individual combination of those two blessings will look like.

In Christ.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tsk, just like a New Year's Resolution: you start strong, then peter out by February.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Palm Waver said...

I'm back.

11:13 PM  

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