I’m Not Doing That
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
At the gym, whenever we do something that I don’t feel like doing – which is often – I have a bad habit of referring to that thing as stupid. Burpees are so stupid. Usually, it’s something that I’m not good at and on which I need to work. I should do it. I need to do it if I want to get better, but it’s uncomfortable to grow and so, part of me would rather not do it. In the end I do it, because I want to improve. Doing only easy things at the gym doesn’t get me anywhere.
I once felt similarly about getting help with my addiction. Long before I went to treatment, I needed to go. As long as I could continue my life while using drugs though, I wasn’t going to disrupt that life. In the end, treatment absolutely did turn my life upside down, but it was absolutely necessary. I was never going to get sober and find recovery without radically changing my behavior and make no mistake – radical behavioral change is radically painful. So, as long as I could pretend that I didn’t need help, I thought treatment was stupid and I refused to do it. When everything came crashing down though, I went and through it, God saved my life.
This is similar to what Paul said about the message of the cross in today’s passage. He said that the idea of dying to ourselves, surrendering our will, and following Christ, is absolute madness to those who don’t think they need it. It’s only the lost and desperate who are willing to daily die with Christ upon the cross.
The problem is that we can believe God exists, and even call ourselves Christians, without ever really coming to the cross. Following Christ means repenting of the old life. This isn’t a one-time belief. This is a lifestyle of daily abandoning the old life to follow the new one. Unfortunately, there are many of us who identify as Christians who still don’t see the need die to self. We still live as if daily crucifixion is stupid – following our own will above all. Usually, it’s only when we come to the painful end of ourselves, that we’re willing to accept the cross as the power of God to save us from ourselves.