All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news will save them. [Mark 8:35]
What an odd little verse. Not one of my favorites, but definitely an important one. This verse reminds us that we can be freed from the burden of always needing to get our own way. In fact, this verse teaches us that the greatest gift to ourselves is to learn to hold on to things lightly. To not live in the illusion that we can control all the moving parts of our lives. To not always make it about ourselves or our opinions. To not always insist we are right.
When we are ready to lose those habits, we are then ready for God to do His work in our hearts. To be willing to hold our tongues, submit to the ideas and ways of others is to practice the spiritual discipline of submission.
If you are not sure what a spiritual discipline is, let’s use a quote by Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline, “Spiritual disciplines are the means God uses to build in us an inner person that is characterized by peace and joy and freedom.” Based on this description, to practice the discipline of submission based on Mark 8:35 means that when we stop making it all about ourselves, our opinions, and our own personal control, we will find peace, joy, and freedom. Those are three things we always need in our life.
For the month of February, we are doing a sermon series on spiritual disciples. Our goal will be to practice four different disciplines, and hopefully, begin to experience more peace, joy and freedom. Yet we will not stop there. It turns out that spiritual disciplines are not just about helping us grow closer to God. Spiritual disciplines also make us kinder, more gracious, and more loving to the people in our personal relationships as well as the people we encounter in our community. Anything that helps us better love our neighbor is worth practicing. We hope you join us for our February sermon series.