Uncomfortable (S1) - Day 2

Matthew 16: 24
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me."

Fleetwood Mac's song "go your own way," Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way," "Shake it out" by Florence and the Machine, and "Good as Hell" by Lizzo; all of these songs have one thing in common, the way I go about things is the right way, and don't tell me I'm wrong! This sort of rugged individualism is good at times. We need to know where we are going and how we will get there. These anthems of self-love and direction are just what the Dr. ordered at times. However, there are other times when we need to heed the words of Jesus and realize that while we, of course, should have a direction and an understanding of who we are, we should also have an understanding of who we are in Christ and what he is asking us to do.

Too often, we "go our own way" and decide that there is no way that going the way of Jesus could coincide with our direction. We might be surprised. When we give up our way, God often gives us a way that not only coincides with our approach but also enhances, amplifies, and accelerates the direction we are hoping to head in any way.

Let me give you an example. I played music in bands in college. I was hopeful that might be a direction I could head in my life. I contemplated moving to LA and putting together a band to play the clubs there so we could get noticed. The little band I had in college got to play many of the Sunset Strip venues, and we had a little following in the Inland Empire.

When God called me into ministry, I thought one of the things that God would call me to give up was music. I did this willingly and was saddened that I was giving up something that I loved. But when I picked up my cross to follow Jesus, I knew I needed to lay something of mine down. It was music that I laid down, and it was hard, but I knew it was the right thing to do then.

Fast forward a few months, I met some guys who also liked to play music. We put a band together in seminary, and we were able to begin to do shows and get some traction around the areas we were playing. It turned out that we played together for the next decade. I did much more in music by laying it down than I might have if I had stayed in LA and tried my hand at the full-time music thing.

All this is meant to say that while this text may seem like it is calling you to an uncomfortable sacrifice, it is calling you to an incredible opportunity to see God work in your life in ways that might be even more uncomfortable but a great deal more exciting as well.

1. Have you given something up to follow God?
2. What was it, and was it hard to give up?
3. Do you regret it?
4. How has God used you for his glory ever since your sacrifice?
5. When you picked up your cross, what did it look like?

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