“I am here all alone, just trying to sort some stuff out in my head…John, you know what? After all these years I am trying to work out this thing called self denial. And if I am willing to do that.”
That was the heart of the conversation. Right there. Self denial.
As followers of Christ, I am convinced, at least on Thursday that this is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. No one signs up for self denial at the time of commitment. Who would? Yet I want to know more on this topic. I want to learn what is it’s purpose, what is the benefit of denying yourself anything or in a Christian’s life, almost everything.
This friend of mine, that I quoted earlier, we went back and forth and found ourselves discussing the things that God places in our lives, beautiful things, sets them smack dab dadgum right in front of us and says, “Do not touch this. Do not pursue this.”
Then my friend and I talked through the prayer of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. It irks me when preachers or teachers dehumanize Christ. As though Christ was some robot who made all the right decisions because he was deity and the Messiah. Thank you sir…madam…but I CAN NOT relate to that Christ. And he can not relate to me.
What I can relate to is Christ praying in the garden so intently that his sweat dropped to the ground as blood. And when he prayed, (and you can throw a lot of religion and translations at this if you want), but, what he said was, “Father, I do not want to do this at all. Please find another way.”
I can relate to that Christ. A person with an internal struggle between God and humanity.
Because that is where I live. In the struggle between God and humanity.
What gives us any hope at all in this life is that Christ then said, “however”, “yet not” and /or “but”, “thy will be done.”
My very close friend… He will eventually make the right decision. I know him that well. And I said to him, “If this was not so painful to watch you go through, it would be very, very interesting.”
This thing called self denial…yuck.