Red: Week 3 Daily Reflection Friday, October 23, 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."
We live in a self-obsessed society. We are constantly being told that we need to be better, that we can be better, that we must be better. We need to have the right clothes, the right house, the right kind of car, the right diet, read the right books, go to the right gym, do all the right things in order to have ultimate fulfillment in life. The message that we receive from our self-obsessed society is that all of these ways of being right are within our grasp.
Some of us run with these messages--as many of them as we can manage. We pursue self-fulfillment with a vengeance, buying all the books that Oprah tells us to buy, taking advice from Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz or Dr. Whoever Is Popular, joining two or maybe even three gyms, trying every diet on the market, buying all of the things that we think are going to make us happy... We just go for it. And then find at the end of it all that all we have to show for it is a depleted bank account and an imbalanced life.
Some of us do just the opposite. We retreat into bad behavior, bad diets, no exercise and narrow ways of thinking. We believe somehow that there is no way that we are ever going to be right so we don't even bother trying.
The interesting thing about both of these responses is that they are inherently self-obsessed.
So what does it look like when we surrender Self to God as Jesus commanded? It reframes everything, actually. Because then you begin asking a very simple, and very powerful question that changes the way you view yourself. You are not a tool of the marketing machines for products and books, and goods and services. You are a human being and a child of God.
Here's the question: "What would God think is best for me?"
This changes the way you eat.
This changes the way you treat your body.
This changes what you read and watch.
This changes what you buy.
This changes how you view your purpose in life.
When God is first in your life, and you constantly ask "What would God think is best for me?" your understanding of yourself will be utterly and completely transformed. All of the ways our society says you can find fulfillment get reframed within the loving and grace-filled story of God's redemption.
Go ahead. Ask that question today. Ask it as you go about your day--as you eat, as you drink, as you laugh with friends... Ask it before you buy whatever it is that you feel you need to buy to make yourself feel something... Ask it before you make decisions... Ask it before you listen to that particular radio show, or watch that program, or go on that website...
"What would God think is best for me?"
"Would God think it's best for me to eat another bacon double cheeseburger?"
"Would God think it's best for me to sit on the couch instead of taking a walk?"
"Would God think it's best for me to buy another jacket instead of saving the money, or giving it away?"
"Would God think it's best for me to watch hours and hours of TV instead of reading, spending time with family or friends or just about anything else?"
You get the idea. And here's the thing--when you ask this question, and then you act upon the answer that you know deep inside is the right answer, you'll discover something incredible:
God really does want the best for you.