repulsed by the obvious evilness of sin, i find that it is no longer a matter of avoiding sin per se, “but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and self-will. this is where the battle has to be fought. – My Utmost For His Highest
right to myself. natural independence. self-will.
from the world’s perspective, these are distinctive human functions which, when deployed excellently, are supposed to lead us from mundane mediocrity to the pinnacle of self-actualization. nothing wrong with that at all.
but, no. the reading today says, “the things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best… they oppose or counteract surrender to God.”
it is our nature to always think of ourselves first, to regard ourselves as the center of interest, to evaluate and control everything according to our standards and needs. why? because otherwise, we could end up last in the line.
however, as followers of Christ, we are to regard life in the concept of gift and grace from the God who provides and loves (so no need to scamper for the gold, er… goal) — never in terms of what we can conquer or possess.
what does Christ propose? self-sacrifice. self-denial. self-giving.
tough words. but let’s face it.
when we avenge, rebel, defy, or impose our wants, brandish our stubbornness in our dealings, control other people, and demand that our needs be met first, what results? hurt, anger, violence, division, war. and no one wants that.
yet are we really supposed to patiently endure abuse, rejection, pain, or exploitation in the name of God? allowing ourselves to be like poured-out wine—consumed, dry, and numb in spirit? does Jesus think that’s fine?
yes, He does.
but wait. Pope John Paul in his homily during the World Youth Day a decade back said that Christians do not really seek suffering for its own sake. we seek love.
when we embrace our cross following Christ, it becomes a sign of love, of total self-giving, of being united with Him. and, there is no greater proof of love than that. ( so surely, no spiritual numbness there)
Christ invites, “follow me.”
why? because He alone knows the way to the fullness of life and which He alone can give.
but do we trust Him?
“Lord, as much as Your ways do seem confusing and risky in lay man’s eyes, i am surrendering my self and my rights to You. i have lived my past planning and working out hard my own peace and happiness in the ways i knew best and we both know i didn’t quite make it. so please, fill my heart with Your Spirit then as i await from You Your peace and joy. i love You, sweet Jesus.”