Culture says, "Its all about you." Christ says, "Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me." In dying to ourselves daily we experience more joy than we thought possible. But how do you move in the opposite direction of cultural norms and natural tendencies? Brian unpacks John 12:25-26 where Jesus helps us identify areas where we may not be characterized by the self-sacrificial living that unprecedented joy requires.
Let's study together.
Read this from the Bible together:
25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it... God is not pursuing a bad version of you—he doesn't prescribe a joyless, fun-less existence. But he is coming after places where you've adopted your own preferences over his. What is something you love or have loved that may be taking preference over your life in Christ?
Whoever serves me must follow me. Jesus leads us to places we would never want to go. Why does following Jesus require us to pursue things we'd rather avoid? What hard thing have you done recently that produced much more joy than you expected? Why do you think you didn't want to do it at first?
My Father will honor the one who serves me. In the Bible, humility always comes before honor. Culture wants to offer you honor without humility and glory before the grind. Why do you think we expect shortcuts in our lives that remove suffering from the equation? Where do you think this idea might have crept into our theology?
"Where are the places you are looking for something that looks like the opposite of self-sacrifice?" Jesus was born into poverty and chose to heal the sick, provide for the needy, and pursue those on the fringes of life. Who do you spend most of your time with and what do you do when you are with them? Why do you think it matters if we share our lives with those who need our sacrifices versus those who don't?
“'Following Jesus is more costly, more painful, and more joyful than anything this world has to offer." Why does this feel risky to believe? What if its true? How would that affect how you lived your life?
"Devotion from a distance is not a thing." Isolation is often the first sign that you are moving towards a life of self focus and away from a life of self denial. Have you been tempted to isolate yourself from people or from God? Can you trace the root of that desire to a lie you've believed or a cost you're avoiding?