Jesus the loser...

Reading back through my journals has been interesting...

I'm in a new environment, with new people all around me and I'm learning that when I make first impressions, I like to come across as amazing, as a winner. It's a shame because I know that a posture of vulnerability can be the best way to meet new people as it helps form relationships that have real depth and density to them.
So today is a chance to make deliberate choices for the benefit of others at the expense of myself. And as much as my head knows that expense can be paid due to my esteem and value being in Christ and therefore inexhaustible, invincible and stretching into eternity, it doesn't ever make it any easier. (Excerpt from my journals 6th April 2017)

Firstly I'm a weird fella (seriously that stuff was strange) and secondly as I stumbled over this old realisation that the head knowledge of my value in Christ, doesn't seem to make it any easier for me to let it take a hit. It got me wondering again, how doesn't this knowing automatically affect my interactions with others? How can there be a disconnect between what I know and how I live?

Loser 3.jpg

Over the last year I've started to think it's because Jesus lost, he was a loser. And I prefer to win, to be a winner. The prophet Isaiah envisioned Jesus life like this...

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Jesus' life isn't one I've been aspiring to, in fact, I've been attempting the opposite. And I think it's this continued pursuit of 'winning at life' that is the root problem. Winning stops you from losing (wow, I know, powerful) and losing has a seemingly hidden power for the Jesus follower, because the loss is almost always the catalyst for the movement of self-worth in Christ from our heads to our hearts. From the things we say and think to the reality we live and experience.

The most spiritually influential people in my life have always chosen courage over comfort, accountability over blame and have acknowledged failure as the majority teacher on their journey. So rather than my experience being tied up in well thought out words on paper and easy to use platitudes, maybe it's time for me to be intentional with my response to Jesus invitation...

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it..."

1900 odd years later Dietrich Bonhoeffer summarised the call this way... 

"The Cross is not the terrible end of a pious, happy life. Instead, it stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death." 

In other words, Jesus calls his followers to enter loss and suffering, to lose. Because he knows that it's this loss that can put the ego to death. And as painful as that can be, it's necessary because it's what makes room for the birth of our authentic selves, who we really are. While adding the beautiful repercussion of moving our value in Christ from our heads to our hearts. 

Personally, I'm very interested in becoming more authentic while grounded in the experience of an inexhaustible, invincible and eternal sense of value, not only because it's a way of life that can pay the expense for others, it's a way of life that has already paid it.

I don't remember if I was able to defeat my ego that day, but I'm pretty sure I had the right idea. 

Following Jesus the loser...