Monday meditations: Luke 9.23

And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9.23-25)

Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart to grab some hot dogs and buns (we’re having a cookout this afternoon). My daughters went over and looked at the clothes, specifically at the patriotic shirts. This one red shirt had the US flag sewn on the front in sequins. Very pretty. Then I thought about how bitterly sad it must have been for that poor, enslaved child to sit there sewing this symbol of freedom over and over again, when she herself does not (and probably will never) enjoy such freedom.

Then I read this blog post by Peter Rollins which is at the same time the most radical position and the one necessary for Christians if they are going to be serious about following what Jesus taught, how he lived, and what his call in this verse means. Reflect this week on what ways the Spirit is calling you right now to take up your own instrument of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others (i.e., your cross). If you ask, the Spirit will point things out to you. Then you will probably need to ask for strength of will and courage to do those things.

Monday meditations: Psalm 139.14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Ps. 139.14

As Chris Tomlin sings, “You and I were made to worship.” I think David has two meanings here, a poetic double entendre. First, I praise you because you have made me to be a creature of praise – worship is in keeping with my most fundamental nature.

Second, I recognize how wonderful it is that you have made me and thus I desire to praise you. Either or both is a sufficient argument against total depravity as understood in the TULIP confession (bearing in mind that what TULIP wants is to protect us from thinking along Pelagian lines). I am fallen and sinful, yes I am, but the goodness of my created nature remains. Praise God.

It is likely that you already know this little verse by heart, but remembering the sort of extended meditation we’re doing here, take time with each word this week and really dig into what this statement means – and what it means specifically in your own life (you are quite well made after all). You can even try using the first part of the verse and filling in your own ending: I praise you because ________. See how many ways you can think of to fill in the blank.

I think you will be surprised at how differently your week goes when you fill it with praise to the God who made you a creature of praise.