Red: Daily Reflection Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This is the third week of daily reflections based on the sermon series, "Red: Understanding the Hard Sayings of Jesus."  This week we'll be focusing on lessons of discipleship learned from Luke 14:26, where Jesus states "Unless you hate father, mother, sister, brother, wife and children--even yourself--you cannot be my disciple." 

It's interesting that in the verse we wrestled with during this past Sunday's sermon (Luke 14:26) Jesus snuck in "self" to the list of things that you need to surrender completely if you are going to follow him.  

For some of us, the most difficult thing to surrender to God is ourselves. Because ultimately it means that we have to give up control of our thoughts, our words, actions, decisions and even the ways we define who we are. And none of those acts of surrender come easily to us.  

The other day I was listening to a podcast of a pastor and speaker who I admire, and he was doing a teaching on breaking the cycle of destructive behavior, addictions, poor decisions and the like.  He connected his understanding of all of this to the words of Jesus when he told his followers that he came to give them life, and to give it to them in the "fullest."  

So what this pastor was saying was that when you are about to do that thing that you know will feed your addiction... when you are are about to enter into that cycle of destructive behavior that you can't seem to keep away from... when you realize the decision you are about to make just might not be the best... You ask yourself a simple question:  "I want this. But what do I want more?"  

Asking yourself that question is the first step toward relinquishing control of your life, surrendering yourself to God.  It opens you up to the unbelievable possibilities that God has for you--the abundant, full life that Jesus talked about. When you ask that question, you are pushing the pause button on your desires and allowing for the possibility that God might actually have a better idea.  

It's not dramatic.  It's not complicated.  It's just a simple question.  "What do I want more?"  "What do I want more than another drink or drug?  What do I want more than another shopping spree?  What do I want more than an irresponsible fling that is purely physical? What do I want more than my own way in this moment?  What do I want more than what is right in front of me?"

Chances are, there are plenty of things you want more.  You can probably list them:  peace, hope, joy, fulfillment, connections with others, faith, purpose, real relationships, direction for your life...  

And the only way that you are ever going to be able to have all those things that you truly desire is when you surrender yourself to the One who wants those things for you, too.  The full, abundant, vibrant life that Jesus offers is just on the other side of your surrender.  If you've been struggling to let go and hand over control of your life to God, just remember it begins with a simple question, and an opening of your soul to the fullness that God longs to give to you.    


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