Death to Self

Grinch heart

 

 

If I was to devise an instrument that could measure my commitment and dedication to Christ I imagine it being something like the measuring device in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ Remember the scene at the end of the film strip (yes, I’m that old) where the Grinch realizes the true meaning of Christmas and experiences a spiritual transformation that grows his heart so much he breaks the measuring tool? 

 

If I were to measure my commitment and dedication today it would look more like the heart in the illustration above. Want to know how I know? Allow me to share a transcript from an actual conversation I had with my friend Kate this week:

 

ME: I heard about a cool David Nasser study called ‘Call to Die’. I’m kind of interested in doing it.

KATE: Really what’s it about?

ME: Dying to self. He asks you to fast on the world and feast on Christ for 40 days.

KATE: So he wants you to not watch TV and stuff?

ME: Yeah, so I don’t think I can start it until this season of American Idol is over.

 

True story…really. While this is not my proudest moment it is certainly one of my truest. With that story in mind Mark 15:40, 41 really stood out to me in today’s readings. 40 Some women were watching form a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for His needs. Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there. 

 

When I read the Gospels I always admire the Disciples commitment to Jesus’ calling. They dropped everything, left everything, sacrificed everything to follow the Son of Man. They became His friends and confidants and were given full, front row access to the most amazing events in all of history. How cool. I would love to be a companion to Him; to travel with Him; to discuss culture, news and scripture with Him; break bread with Him; pray with Him. I think that if I was offered this (emphasis on this) unprecedented opportunity I would drop everything to accompany Him on His journey. 

 

Now, what if I were offered the opportunity that was given to the women mentioned in verses 40 and 41. Their deal was ‘Leave everything and follow me as I preach though out all of Galilee watching from afar while being completely dedicated to my service, caring for the needs of me and my Disciples, for as long as it takes’. This doesn’t sound like much fun but these women had an extraordinary measure of commitment and dedication. They knew that they owed all they had to the one who healed them and were willing to humbly serve Him and take advantage of any opportunity to be near Him. 

 

The commitment and dedication that these women had for Jesus would certainly bust my Heart-O-Meter. Unlike me, they took the Call to Die challenge despite what was going on in their world.  Full disclosure: I am not ready to do the ‘Call to Die’ study (yet) American Idol or not. But I am ready to begin praying for Him to remove my commitment to self and replace it with a call to death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

Filed under Bible, blog, christianity, church, faith, inspiration, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Death to Self

  1. Anonymous

    Katy
    I find it amazing that after everything they’ve seen the disicples still don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead until they themselves see him in person. Christians today believe without ever having seen Jesus, heard him teach, or watched him perform miracles personally. It does say something about our faith today that we can believe and share our beliefs folowing the instructions Jesus gave to the original disicples.
    Friday, May 1, 2009 – 05:53 PM

  2. Anonymous

    Nancy
    In 16:12-14, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them..later Jesus appeared the Eleven. I have to wonder how many times He has appeared to me in different forms yet I didnt see Him. How many times has He tried to speak to me and I have not heard Him? I pray for my eyes and heart to be open to see and hear Him.
    Friday, May 1, 2009 – 07:14 PM

  3. Anonymous

    Jesse
    I was also struck by how slow the disciples were to believe Jesus was really appearing to them. But it makes sense if you think about it. Sooner or later we have to come to terms with the fact that we place our faith in something the world sees as a bunch of mumbo jumbo. People don’t, ordinarily, come walking around after being executed. We have faith in a God who does the impossible.

    I’d also like to know what’s up with Mark 16: 9-20. My study bible says these verses aren’t in the oldest manuscripts and probably weren’t part of the gospel originally. If that’s the case, why are they still included? What do I make of this business? I get uncomfortable when there are translation issues.
    Friday, May 1, 2009 – 10:11 PM

  4. Anonymous

    Jennifer
    I always get chills when I read about the cruifixation of Jesus. It amazing how he was still doubted and denied after all the miracles he performed. I wonder how many of us would be like Peter and deny him? I wonder how many of us wouldn’t believe if He were walking here among us? I also pray that I have the eyes and hears to really fully take in what Jesus is saying to me.
    Saturday, May 2, 2009 – 08:06 AM

  5. Anonymous

    RevDHW
    Regarding the last segment of Mark, the theory I find most satisfying is that in of the very earliest manuscripts of Mark the end was literally lost, as in: broke off. This could happen very easily in documents that are sewn together. Even so brisk a writer as Mark would hardly end his gospel at v. 8! Whereas many early copies were then made of this truncated version, the later addition was written to replace what was lost. The consensus of the church has been that the addition, while not in the earliest manuscripts, meets the standard of inspiration. This is like the addition to John’s gospel — John 8:1 – 11 — which is not in the earliest copies and was almost certainly not written by John; possibly it was a fragment written by Luke. Nothing inherently prevents a later addition or editing from being inspired; the difficult issue is where to draw the line, which it took the church a couple of centuries to resolve.

    I should add that, in contrast to the additions to Mark and John, additions to Daniel (the story of Susannah and the Elders, and Bel and the Dragon) are not regarded, in the Protestant version, as being inspired, but are relegated to the Apocrypha, the extra-biblical documents that, while interesting, do not meet the standard of inspiration.
    Saturday, May 2, 2009 – 10:23 AM

  6. Nicole ~

    This was awsome and I can so relate! Heathen that I am, I laughed out loud when you mentioned not being able to do the study until Idol was over!

    Dying to self is SO HARD!!! I know that we’re called to do this and I admit it’s a moment by moment struggle for me as I think it is for everyone!

    Thanks for the reminder…I think ;-)

    Annalea

  7. Brook

    I think the important thing in this whole “dying to self” call is that it is a call TO something, not necessarily away from something. The disciples gave up everything TO follow Jesus, not simply to be pious giver-uppers. It seems that focusing on the “giving up” part misses the point, and makes it unneccessarily difficult. I am reminded of Lent time, when people all talk about what they’ve given up, and it begs the question, “for what purpose?”.

    If one of your loved ones was being rushed to the hospital while American Idol was on, I think you wouldn’t even give a second thought to missing the show. you might not even realize it was on. That which is of much greater importance consumes your focus, and the “sacrifice”of missing the show would seem almost laughably negligable. If you don’t know why you’re giving something up, maybe it’s not all that important (yet) that you do.

    One of my all-time favourite movie scenes is at the end of Schindler’s List, where he sees all the people who have been saved from extermination because of his sacrifices, and all he can do is regret and lament that he didn’t sacrifice more, that this watch could have saved someone and this coat could have meant another life, etc… The sacrifice is not the painful thing, it is the realization of how much more he wished he would have sacrificed when he sees standing before him the purpose of all he sacrificed. He gave up so much, but with all his heart wishes he had given it all up. This, to me, is the true meaning of “dying to self”, so much more life-affirming that turning off the tv or giving up chocolate for Lent. Sacrifice becomes desire and joy when we have a clear vision of what we are “sacrificing” everything for.

  8. I am right there with you sis. May we learn to take up that cross every day without reservation!
    (Love the pic!)
    Ginger

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