There is a fascinating series of questions that confront us when challenged by a truth or command in God’s Word. Let’s say we’ve just come upon Luke 9:23 where we are told by Jesus to ‘deny ourselves.’ We find it just as we are about to cross the narcissistic bridge into the land of ‘go-into-debt-because-you-deserve-it.’
We’ve all been there.
So now the first question … should we? Should we deny this strong pull toward self-gratification? Apparently so, since Jesus told us to. But, can we? Of course we can. We can turn away from the lure, say “No” to the salesman, figure out a more altruistic use of our resources.
At this point the winner is yet to be determined. The choice between egoist and humanitarian lies before us. Will I be selfish or noble? The outcome always comes down to our answer to the final question: will we?
This challenge to obedience is a constant companion in the life of anyone wishing to please his Lord. Settling it today doesn’t mean I won’t be confronted by it tomorrow. But answering it correctly today will make wiser choices tomorrow a bit easier.
Let’s take another ‘for instance.’ Found in our ‘believer’s operating manual’ is the call to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Again, once exposed to truth, the first question is answered: yes I should. But can I? Can I forgive that one who has caused such penetrating pain in my life? Can I love someone who will most likely never reciprocate … who only and always expresses disrespect and loathing of me?
That answer is more difficult to breech, but with soul searching and a gritty determination to please Jesus we admit … yes I can.
And here comes that final interrogation of the Spirit … will I?
This week, remember that in the successful navigation of these three questions and answering “Yes I will” we always move toward the Father. We become more and more like his Son. We quit living for ourselves and gladly leave behind the empty feeling that accompanies selfishness. Our obedience takes the ‘self’ out of ‘myself’ and turns the ‘my’ into an obedient lifestyle that allows room in our lives for all that God has been wanting to give us.
Is it worth it? I’ll let you answer that question yourself!
May joy accompany your journey!