Let's start here, shall we?
"Anyone who comes to Me but refususee to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters--yes even one's own self--can't be My disciple."
"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple."
-excerpts from Luke 14 MSG
Initial, honest thoughts: Yikes. Followed quickly by fear, anxiety, and worry. I share my reaction because there's a myth floating around that intially reading, studying, and digesting scripture is always filled with total peace, understanding, clarity, and hope. Maybe that's the case for some, not for me.
I'm at a place in my life were I'm allowing myself to believe God has good for me. For you. For the entire world. It's a simple concept, but like most things in God's kingdom, it's filled with layers and complexities.
The good for me currently is my relationships, the work I'm doing, getting my act together financially, and stepping into deep callings God's place on my heart. I see God in every single one of these...they're good! He's good! Surely He wouldn't ask me to give up the very things He's given me?
Here's the thing: HE IS.
The phrase "giving things up" in God's book means surrender. Total surrender and submission to Him and His will. If you enjoy the myth of control like me, this cornerstone quality in following Jesus is real hard.
Here's what I'm learning in regards to "giving things up": it's all about posture.
The moment I begin clinging to the gifts I have been given, is the moment they loose their value.
They quickly become my god, even though they're from and of God.
In the excerpt from Luke, Jesus asks His disciples the same question. Every value and gift He's asking his friends to sacrifice is GOOD. He's asking His disciples if they truly think following Him is worth it.
If it's better than even their greatest gift from God.
Too many times I read the bible through the lense of "c'mon discple-guys, the right answer is following Jesus. He's totally worth it, duh!". However, as I live more life, and experience really good things, I'm learning how vital it is to ask myself every day:
"Is following Jesus better than even the greatest gift He's given me?".
I'll admit, most days I choose the gift over Jesus. That's why scripture like this hits me so hard.
So, I'm asking myself and you today: What's your posture?
Is it a white-knuckle grip on the good in your life? Or even the bad?
Is it an open-hands-open-heart surrender on the good?