Day 146 – Going Against the Tide
On: March 26, 2015 | By: admin
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You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
Coming to the end of Luke 10 and looking back over the days we have travelled together, I am a little concerned that I have painted the journey as simply too exhausting. Challenges at every turn. Will I ever get it right?
But my eye is taken back to Jesus’ own words: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24
My Granddad lived in Coventry and was one of the wardens who helped sort out the chaos when the Luftwaffe tried to bomb the city to the ground in 1940. Over the years, he regaled me with tales of what went on that made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. And yet these were the best days of his life. Something my dad, who as a teenager was rushing around having a whale of a time as bombs were falling all around, agreed with whole-heartedly. This seems to concur with many reminiscences I have heard and read that “the war years were the best days of my life”.
By contrast, in the relatively easy going times the majority in the West are living through in the 21st Century, we see stress levels, addiction, relationship breakdown (to name but a few) soaring to record higher levels. The exact opposite of what you’d expect. How come? Three quotes will help us on our way:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24
For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Back in the 21st Century, where everything is geared to making life easier, such an acceptance of hardship and difficulty is completely counter cultural. And yet if the writings of the apostle Paul can be applied and trusted today, this is the path to a purposive and joy filled life. Although carrying our cross daily will be challenging and goes against the tide, it is a way of life that we were made for and we will find fulfilment in.
All this reminds me of a book, by the incomparable John Stott, that I read soon after commencing my journey with Jesus, entitled “Christian Counter Culture”. It looks at the second half of Ephesians and, if you can lay hands on a copy, is strongly recommended.