I am always fascinated this time of year by “March Madness,” particularly those underdog teams that get on a roll. This year it is Cornell, Northern Iowa, and St. Mary’s. You can see it in the player’s eyes and feel the passion right through the TV monitor. If you are a sports fan, you gotta love it!
Christian discipleship is a matter of focus and desire as well. Key questions like—what is it that compels us forward…what or whom do we want to become in this life…what influence do we want to have? We are all becoming something intentionally or unintentionally.
Jesus talked about the kingdom being like a merchant who found a pearl that was so valuable that he sold everything in order to buy it. The joy that he gained won out over the sacrifice. John Ortberg has said, “No one can be a disciple of Jesus because they think they should, you actually have to want it.” You gotta want it.
Jesus gives us clues to such. “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly. On another occasion, “whoever would lose his life for my sake shall find it [life].” It seems that the more we release ourselves to the control of Christ the more our true selves we become.
At the end of C. S. Lewis’ classic Mere Christianity, he imagines an objection to this idea of releasing our lives to Christ. The objector says, “Well if I lose myself, won’t I then lose my unique identity. If we all are to become like Christ, won’t we all look the same and simply become cookie cutter images of Jesus and of each other?”
Lewis responds by saying that just the opposite is true. Suppose someone had never tasted salt and you said that we put salt on our food. You taste a pinch of salt by itself and it seems to have a dominating flavor. Won’t everything then taste like salt? Yet we know the opposite is true. Salt brings out the unique flavor of the food upon which it is placed. Christ is like that.
The more we get what we call “ourselves” out of the way and let Christ take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. So, our real selves are all waiting for us in Him. It is no good trying to “be myself” without Him.
Remember, whatever good this world dangles before us, it cannot compare to the life that we are offered in Christ.
However, you gotta want it. Let the madness begin!