Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “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 saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you [or soul]? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Source: Mark 8:34-37 (The Message)
Jesus ties everything together for me. I’m not left guessing what is required of me in the Kingdom of God where Jesus is in charge.
Do I really want everything? I have this strange notion that I can get everything I want. Health, great relationships, prosperity and so much more. It is all mine I am told. A wonderful world where I learn to reach God’s goal with no change in my character, no suffering an no pain. Jesus warns me that isn’t The Way.
What would I exchange my soul for? Jesus forces me to get clear about what is important. Would I exchange my soul for:
Jesus is warning me that His Way isn’t easy. It is tough. It is The Way of the cross and self-sacrifice. There will be suffering. There will be pain. Family will abandon me. I will be persecuted. I will be more than happy. I will have great joy. I will know that God is in a good mood. I will know that everything is working to my advantage.
Jesus set the whole conversation up with “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things.”
If I am following Jesus can I expect not to suffer as well? Jesus did it with his eyes on the joy before him. In Hebrews we are told that “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”