This Christmas I’m reading through Timothy Keller’s book “Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind The Birth Of Christ”. It’s been good for my soul…challenging. I just finished reading the chapter on Mary, and I am left reflecting on the invasive nature of Christ. I suspect Mary had a plan for her life. She was getting married to Joseph, who apparently was a pretty good guy. And then, out of the blue, Christ steps in and absolutely takes over. He changes everything…responsibilities, reputation, relationships. As my boys would say, he wrecks her. It’s almost as if he treats her life like it is not her own.
I’ve been spending the last four months thinking through the journey of discipleship…in my own life, in the life of my boys and in the lives of the students I interact with. I’m wondering if I’ve done enough to help my students see that Christ has come to wreck them, to change their responsibilities, to possibly hurt their reputations, to rearrange relationships. I’m wondering if my models of discipleship are pointing them to the reality that their lives are not their own. It is true, Christ invites us to abundant life, but it is abundant life on His terms. Like Mary, the only right response to the coming of Christ is “I am the Lord’s servant.”
So here are my questions as I move from Christmas into the new year.
- Are there areas of my life that I need to release my grip on…areas I need to be willing to lose in my life in order to gain my life?
- How am I leading my leaders? Am I helping them see that leading in our ministry is about allowing Christ to lead their lives?
- How are we discipling our students? Do they understand that because Christ came and gave His life for them, the only right response is to joyfully give their lives to Him? Are we having conversations that wrestle with what that looks like on a daily basis?
It is interesting, Christ came to bring peace, but the way to peace is often through conflict…the conflict of the soul. Christ demands all of us, however giving up “all of us” does not come easy. When you look at Mary’s life, it didn’t seem to come easy for her, so we shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t come easy for us. However, chances are it won’t come at all, until we get to the place where we can say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant”. That would be a great way to start the new year.