Suffering for Christ, Not Ourselves, 14APR
Suffering…. Jesus says we will have struggles, suffering, and strife in life…
We need to choose, however, what is real suffering and what is caused by our focus on worldly things…
Scripture tells us to not worry about what we will eat or drink, or overindulge in drinking and things that cloud our understanding of reality… what we worry about breeches our understanding of real suffering… our perception of suffering is what becomes an escapism drive… our placation of life to make everything alright for ourselves becomes our drug of choice. We all do this. We are human. Jesus is trying to open our eyes to let us shed our human ways and return to being the forces of LOVE in the world.
Choose suffering over stuff… Choose wisely what to suffer about… Choose to suffer for Christ and NOT for ourselves…
We often don’t understand or choose to negate our distractive ways which make us avoid the real problems in the world…. we are clouded… we continue to be a sinful generation… we forget to work on loving…
Choose LOVE over being lost….
As disciples, we could and should see that Jesus was and is suffering not simply thru physical pain (even though that was tremendous) but thru emotional aching to re-vine a garden of God’s children who are distracted, fighting, squabbling and lost. Can you see the burning branches (John 15) of fruitless human endeavors which make it hard for Jesus and us as disciples to rise a garden back out of the ashes when fires are still actively burning?… We know that we are supposed to shed our concerns but we keep getting distracted… we (you and me) are walking disciples… much of the world hasn’t even started walking yet… ignorance… much of the world can’t even get to disbelief then eventual belief if their ignorance still reigns… seeds not yet planted can not sprout.
Jesus walked continuously with the disciples and yet they were also so very clouded in their belief – but at least they kept walking with Jesus and asking questions… they witnessed miracle after miracle and still had continued disbelief – they even saw repetitions of miracles – loaf after loaf of bread – and yet could not convey the true meaning of their journey back to Christ when He asked them what was going to happen to the Son of Man… they barely grasped that Jesus was actually God’s chosen one… Imagine knowing what we faithfully believe now, that they could have unbelief? Imagine if we saw Jesus transfigured and talking with Moses and Elijah – if we saw Jesus not as a human but in His Godly radiance – would we hesitate for a moment to BELIEVE everything, no questions asked?… Would we?? Peter, John and James saw this REALLY happen and yet the continued discussing and questioning EVEN MORE after the fact than before…. “What does this all mean?” “Does Elijah come first?” “What does it mean to rise from the dead?” (See Mark 9)… Jesus keeps working His plan, but even Jesus was surprised at their disbelief… Jesus may have wished to transfigured them and each of us for a brief moment to show the SPIRIT-filled soul under our heavy humaness…
Jesus wondered and wonders now when His then and current disciples will shed their disbelief? When will they have the knowledge and willingness to move thru the world as God’s hands and feet? And the willingness to teach that Jesus REALLY was real? When? The disciples were able to perform miracles, as needed – not to be used as sideshows – but miracles as mercy moments to help the masses…
Similarly, when will we, you and I and the masses, believe that we can do the work that Jesus called us to do – when will can we ALSO provide mercy moments to the masses? When will we, like they, accept Jesus’s GIFT of the Holy Spirit to guide us. And when will we BELIEVE in His power?
Back to the same question – when will we choose to suffer FOR Christ and NOT for ourselves?… to do this we need to choose to keep walking past our own distractions… to put ourselves last in order to help… to put LOVE first and hate last… to BELIEVE that LOVE will win… We must choose to play to win – for God!
Jesus’s first challenge to us is to BELIEVE. And to LOVE.
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9
Jesus’s challenge to us is to accept the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Jesus’s challenge to us is to keep walking…
Jesus’s challenge to us is to testify about His LOVE, to plant seeds of faith…. For seeds not yet planted can not sprout, but sprouting seeds give HOPE.
Jesus’s GIFT to us is HOPE
Jesus’s GIFT to us is HIS SPIRIT
Jesus’s GIFT to us is our forgiveness
Jesus’s GIFT to us is our lives
Jesus, “I do BELIEVE, help me overcome my disbelief”
Jesus, “I will keep walking… please light my way… God knows the plan, please help me hear and follow the SPIRIT…”
Jesus, “Please fill my soul with Your SPIRIT…”
34 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. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”