We yield our will at Gethsemane and decide to “pick up our cross and follow.” Self-denial and cross-bearing are far from once-and-done entities. We’re presented with the opportunity to follow Jesus every day, actually, every minute of every day. I can’t think of a better time to consider what that means than in this season where we contemplate his ultimate victory over death.
So what does it look like to be a Christ follower?
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat points to an interesting example: Tim Tebow. Douthat asserts Tebow fascinates (and polarizes) not just because he adheres to Christianity, but because his conduct of kindness, charity, chastity and guilelessness is “the way one would expect more Christians to behave if their faith were really true.”
Although, Douthat acknowledges, “sophisticated Christians” may be a bit embarrassed by Tebow’s public demonstrations of faith, he recognizes what many fail to see—that if, as Christians contend, every individual life is a story that manifests a divine Author, then every aspect of one’s life will reflect that “Authorship.” Whether changing diapers, running a company or kicking a football…all we do should show the mark of our Maker.
Genuine Christ followers know this. Although they find no escape from momentary setbacks, from the mundane, from the malicious, the Author gives them the assurance that whatever pain or temptation they encounter works to serve a greater purpose…a bigger story. This leads to freedom from self-consciousness and liberty to simply be who they were created to be. The resulting authenticity silences the critics, even New York Times journalist types.
If you follow Jesus you will die. But in dying to yourself, you will find your life. Life that becomes not only a good story, but as some of my younger friends might say…