To choose the life is to commit to a way or pattern of life, Its basis is humility and it is a life of self-denial and submission to others. We choose it because Christ chose it for himself. The essence of faith is to take up our cross daily and follow him.
We don’t just amble our way into this pattern; it is a conscious decision to live by faith. It is fundamentally about giving up the right to run your own life. It is the life Jesus lived, the life to which he has called every disciple. It means to be as unnecessary and irrelevant to our culture as he was to his. And just as we are never more alive as when we deny ourselves, we are never more relevant and necessary than when we choose his life.
The life that Jesus lived and prescribed for us is different than the one being offered by many churches. His servant leadership was radically distinct from what is extolled by secular society and even too bold for what is modeled in the Christian community.
Henri Nouwen said it well, “The long painful history of the Church is people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led,” 1 It is as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” 2
What will we choose? Will we surrender to the powerful forces of our culture and simply try to be successful for Jesus? Or will we choose the life that Jesus chose, and commit to follow him regardless of where he leads?
To put it another way, to choose the life is to commit to:
• Believe what Jesus believed
• Live as Jesus lived
• Love as Jesus loved
• Train as Jesus trained
• Minister as Jesus ministered
• Lead as Jesus led
To choose the life is to choose His life. Jesus chose His life.
"Because we come out of a divine nature, which chooses to be divine, we must choose to be divine, to be of God, to be one with God, loving and living as he loves and lives…Man cannot originate this life; it must be shown him, and he must choose it…We are not and cannot become true sons without our will willing his will, our doing following his making. He was not the Son of God because he could not help it, but because he willed to be…" 3 George MacDonald
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you into something different than it was before…each of us at that moment is progressing to one state or another.” 4 C.S. Lewis
"The ills of the church and of the individual almost totally derive from the simple failure to just do what Jesus told us to do in the Great Commission. That is what it means to choose the life. There is no excuse whatsoever for not doing it, and every rationalization is simply a wound to our own soul, an injury to our group, and an insult to the Christ who told us what to do." 5 Dallas Willard
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