For many people a couple of months ago our lives were busy, busy, busy. “How are you?” we’d say. “Oh, I’m busy!” The key to communicating the good life was saying you led a busy life. Quantity was quality. Identity through activity.
But now, with schedules compulsorily cleared, many of us are finding joy again in a simplified routine. Going for walks, gardening, riding bicycles, cooking, and doing all those long put off jobs around the house. Because that’s all we are allowed to do! The death of one way of life has opened up another life. Reduced activity allows more space to live and breathe. Perhaps when this ends many of us will stay shifted to quite different work and life patterns.
But it’s hard to personally resolve to stop one pattern of life and start another, even if we know it’s far better for us. But Jesus tells everyone to do exactly that.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)
This is one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith: finding life through death. If you love your current life, you will lose it. But if you die to yourself and its worldly patterns, and instead follow Christ, you will keep your life. Following Christ becomes a new pattern. We may move towards it with trepidation, fearing what we might lose in the change. But it is good.
It won’t be forced upon us like COVID10 quarantines, we need to resolve to change ourselves. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from these lockdowns. Take the plunge of change, trusting that committing every area of life to Christ will bring about a better, everlasting life. One in step with God.
It’s a big call. It’s scary. But as we deny ourselves daily and take up our cross to follow Christ we will find new life, far better than the one we leave behind.
– SAM PURSELL