Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hey! Anna's Five-years-old!! Christy made her a really sweet video for this momentous occasion and you can watch it by clicking here!

What You Really Want

Yesterday as I turned the car into our driveway I was exhausted. I turned off the car, grabbed my backpack and headed up the walk toward the house thinking about my rambunctious little girls… I was excited to see them, but also a little wary of having to referee them if their play turned into fussing and discontented arguing. To be honest, the idea of dealing with toddler property disputes after a long day of people, meetings and music seemed totally overwhelming. What I really wanted was a happy and quiet atmosphere where the day’s labors melt away underneath the haven of home rather than fester under the tension of preschool warfare…

Now, traditional wisdom would tell me that the way to get what I wanted would be to go inside the house, complain about my weariness in order to build sympathy and then quarantine myself in the bedroom for a lonesome rest. It would be quiet and peaceful… that is, it would be quiet and peaceful for me while Christy would be stuck with the natives. The other option available to me was to think of Christy first and how she had been doing this all day long… and to think of the girls first and how they wanted someone to play with. This second option was just to head into the house upbeat and energetic… ready to head into the playroom, get down on the floor and play with my kids. Well, that's exactly what I did, and you want to know what happened? Christy got a little break from doing absolutely everything, the kids were quiet, happy and sweet, I was relaxed and restful and there wasn’t even a hint of tension. It turned out that the best and fastest way for me to get what I really wanted was to put them first instead of myself.

I think that’s what Jesus was talking about when He said in Luke 9 that, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” See, it’s not just about being a martyr in a foreign country… it’s something everyone everywhere is supposed to do everyday: killing off your personal and selfish desires and living for someone else. It’s both the hardest and the easiest thing to do… it’s hard because the selfish will is about the strongest enemy we face; but in a way it’s easy too, because you get about a million shots at it every day, and every time you choose a cross you find that you get what you really wanted all along.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to choose death to self… you can choose self, but you won’t like what you get. Even Jesus had to make this very same choice. On the night He was arrested He said, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” In other words, He didn’t have to do what He did. He could have chosen not to go through with it… at any moment, He could have snapped His fingers and the sky would have been rent open as droves of flaming warriors smote His enemies and swept Him up into safety, into peace, and into heaven. He could have done it at any point, but then He wouldn’t have had what He wanted most… you. He chose the cross because that was really the only way to get a life with you. You don’t have to make the ‘death-to-self’ kind of choices that get you what you really want, but why wouldn’t you?

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