In his book, “Counter Culture”, David Platt echoes a common theme of this blog. He writes, “In a world where everything revolves around yourself – protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself – Jesus says, ‘Crucify yourself. Put aside all self-preservation in order to live for God’s glorification, no matter what that means for you in the culture around you.’”
We are by all measures the wealthiest people to have ever walked the earth. At the same time, I would suggest we are also the most self-centered generation in history. We care for ourselves first, showing compassion for others with anything left over, if at all. Far from living a crucified life, we are living a conceited life.
Jesus and His early disciples cared little for their own protection. By choosing to follow Christ, they set themselves up for persecution, torture, and death. And they did not shy away from it. They welcomed the suffering because it allowed them to identify more closely with Jesus. They did not keep quiet in the face of injustice. When you elect to crucify yourself, you choose to put aside your own safety for the sake of delivering others from the hopelessness of an eternity without God.
Self-promotion is the order of the day in the Western world. Social media encourages people to share the highlights of their life with the world. We present a twisted view of reality meant to make us look better than we are, feel better than we do, and cast us in a light better than that of others. In the business world, it is common for people to disregard the value of colleagues and trample them underfoot in order to climb the corporate ladder. Careers are built on the backs of the very ones in need of love and mercy. Should you decide to crucify yourself, you must always put the needs of others first and lift them up ahead of yourself.
Perhaps no other area of our lives makes the lack of crucifixion more apparent than our endless pursuit of comfort. We just want to be happy, entertained, and pass through life with as little friction as possible. What if Jesus had taken the same attitude for Himself? What if He would have lived only in search of His own comfort rather than becoming homeless, outcast, and vilified at every turn? What if He had chosen to be comfortable instead of crucified? Will you return His act of love in kind? Will you subject yourself to Christ and crucify yourself?
If you are a true follower of Jesus, you will crucify yourself to personal protection, self-promotion, and comfort. You must sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ and His mission. Jesus said if you wanted to follow Him, you must crucify yourself (Matthew 16:24-26). For those who will not, He will look them in the eye and say He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). Which future do you want for yourself? Will you sacrifice safety, prestige, and ease in the present in exchange for a place with Him for eternity? Will you crucify yourself?