Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Mark 8:32-37)
Are you a follower of Christ? If so, your life is marked by some very unique things, such as embracing suffering, not being so intent on yourself that you cannot see the needs of others and being willing to allow Christ to take the lead in your life. How many times do we ask Jesus to take the lead in our lives, intending to live a holy, upright, and circumspect life, only to take the lead right back from him whenever the urge hits us? If you are anything like me, it has been like a game of musical chairs!
Followers LET Jesus lead - that means we do more than invite him to lead - we actually put our own self-reliance to rest and allow him to actually lead. It is easy to slip back into that 'self-reliant' phase in our daily walk - especially when things are going well for us. As soon as something begins to rattle our cage a bit, we become acutely aware of what we lack in dealing with the issues at hand. That's when we ask Jesus to take the lead once again. Jesus is either on the throne, or he is not, but he isn't going to lead if we keep relying upon our own abilities all the time.
Embracing suffering seems to be an odd thing to say right after Jesus tells us to let him take the lead - to be in the driver's seat of our lives. If you think about it, he is actually telling us that our self-reliant way of living will do all it can to avoid suffering and pain. To give up the control might just seem a little like we are entering into a place that could have some suffering and unknown pain. Embrace it - follow him. That momentary 'suffering' or 'pain' we endure by not getting our own way all the time, doing things under our own strength or power, isn't all that hard to bear up under when he is leading the way.
All good things in life come with a little, if not a lot, of sacrifice. Allowing Christ to lead will actually mean we sacrifice our desire to be in control. It might be scary to not have all the 'say' over our actions but having all the 'say' over my actions hasn't always resulted in the best outcome! How about you? Have you a desire to allow Christ to lead? If so, it will require less reliance upon self, a 'dethroning' of some desires, and more than just a bit of willingness to do what may be a little frightening to us at times. Just sayin!