Saturday, September 15 – Take up your cross daily
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
By: Brian Bethke
As I stood on the infamous yellow footprints (view here) at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California the large muscle-bound Drill Instructor said in his raspy, almost maniacal voice, “You are no more an ‘I.’ From this time forward, you are part of a team and will refer to yourself as such!” This meant that from that time until the end of bootcamp, I was to refer to myself in the third person. “Recruit Bethke requests….!” “This recruit requests….!” It was weird! It was annoying! I found it to be tough, because my natural inclination was to be concerned with myself and to self-identify. I understood the concept of being on a team, but I could not see how denying myself the usage of the personal pronoun “I” was going to have any transformative effect. I complied. Did I have a choice?
As training progressed, the third person vernacular became easier, I began noticing things were changing inside of me and with the other recruits. I started seeing myself as part of something bigger. I started seeing this ragtag group of individual recruits turn into a platoon of Marines. But there were still times our individualism got the best of us. These times were the worst! I can remember the Drill Instructors reminding us, “It is not about you!” However, most of the time we got it together. As our individual agendas and inflated identities were broken down by the recruit training process, a corporate agenda with a corporate identify was being cultivated. By the end of the process we were a team. This transformation was highlighted as we denied ourselves food, sleep and comfort to help one another get through the grueling 54-hour team obstacle course affectionately named “The Crucible.” The “I” had been phased out and replaced with the “We.” We were part of a platoon that was part of a legacy—the United States Marine Corps legacy. The sign of this was solemnized by the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor ceremony, during which each recruit was given an Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin (the symbol of the USMC), symbolizing we were no longer individual recruits. Instead, we were Marines! I bawled my eyes out (everyone did)! I would always be a part of this team. I was to carry on the legacy of this team. I was to put them first, even if it meant my life. It meant I would never be a “former” Marine. It meant I am and will always be a United States Marine, part of the “We.”
Jesus denied himself of his glory so that we could glorify Him by walking in his way through the obstacles of life. On the cross, his love to us was solemnized. The pinnacle of this love was giving us his Holy Spirit as a sign that we would always be his, a part of his body. With this comes a legacy of faith, paved with daily self-denial and a critical mission tasked by the Triune “We.”
I still struggle with the “I” of things. I have to constantly remember it is not about me. God help me as I continually discard the “I” so that I will embrace You, the Great “We,” and so that I can thrive in my faith and flourish in life, so I can thrive in you.
Engaging with the Scripture
Today, we are engaging with scripture with a very simple inductive method that you can apply to any passage of the Bible.
Simply, read through the verses above and consider the following three questions:
● What are these verses saying?
● What do they mean?
● How do they apply to my life today?
Please share your thoughts, insights and experiences of trying to live out this scripture in the comment section below.
Songs that relate to today’s theme
INVITATION TO CELEBRATE WHAT GOD HAS BEEN DOING IN YOU THIS WEEK!
Plan to join us tomorrowfrom 5:00-6:00pm in Andover for a celebratory potluck meal in the Lower Hall. Bring something to share with others; we will provide soup and bread and drinks. Or join us at 6:00pm for a time of worship, sharing and prayer. Come and share how you have experienced God this week, worship Him and pray together for our children, students and ministries as they embark on a new year.
RSVP to Roselle at firstname.lastname@example.org , so we know how many to cater for and be sure to let us know if you will need childcare!