Friday, November 2, 2007

Exclusive

In making a decision about what I'm going to do with my life a better, more relevant, more important, and necessary question to ask is "What kind of life am I going to live?" Jesus is pretty clear about the kind of life he wants people to live. He wants us to follow Him and in doing so he makes no guarantee that it will be easy (in fact he hints it will be pretty hard).

This call is seen in Luke 9:23 (and several other very similar passages) as Jesus states: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." He asks his followers to do three things deny, take up, and follow.

His command of denying oneself is unbounded in scope. In order to deny something you must have the opportunity to affirm it also. So to affirm our selves would mean to follow our desires, to live for our own pleasure, and essentially do what we want to do. On the contrary, denying our selves means living for another, letting other desires supersede our own, and being willing to turn over control to someone else.

Christ seeks to be that other. He makes a claim on our lives and his claim is an exclusive one. By definition, exclusive claims exclude. If we are going to live in accordance to his claim we will have to deny the claims of others. Living for the claims of Christ will mean denying the claims of our self, it will mean denying the claims of our society, it will mean denying the claims of our family, it will mean denying the claims of our nation, it will mean denying the claims of material things. Nothing else has any claim on us. Further if we are in Christ nothing else can have any claim on us. We belong to Christ. He has the reins, so if we choose to follow any claims but his, we rebel. Truly, all of these other claims are illegitimate and unworthy, so when Christ demands that we deny our selves he can rightfully make that demand because he is the other who we are to live for.

Second, Christ states we are to "take up [our] cross daily". Quickly: What was the instrument of Christ's death? A cross. This is what we are to be willing to do. We are to be ready to take up the instrument of our death. That's a pretty high standard. Not only that, but we are to do so daily. Every day.

Finally, Christ commands "follow me". Two simple words, no more. He places no conditions on us, he lists no exceptions, he provides no further explanation, just a two word command. The simplicity is its beauty, we are called to follow Christ. We are to follow his teachings, all of them. We are to follow his lifestyle, all of it. We are to follow Him. Simple. No exceptions.

When it comes down to it, this is incredibly hard, but everything in me tells me that we need to learn to acknowledge and live for Christ and Christ alone's EXCLUSIVE claim on our lives. Its all about Him.

2 comments:

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