Everyone longs for a sense of independence. My children each went through a phase where we would try to help them, and they would respond with, “By self.” They wanted to do everything for themselves with no help from dear old mom and dad.
That childhood longing for independence never seems to fade. Teenagers wait for the day they have a car and the freedom to do things on their own. Young adults look forward to moving out of the house and having their own schedule. Then they look forward to their own job, money, home, and family. The faint echo of “By self” carries us into life as an adult.
The problem is that these independent, head-strong people come to Church. This is the place where we are challenged to “die to ourselves.” Our world is no longer about what we want, but rather about the cause of Christ. It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me. To be a faithful Jesus follower, you must submit your will to his, and his purpose supersedes your desires. One question that stretches our faith is, “What do I need to surrender to Jesus?”
This issue discovers a new arena for us to grow when we come together as a Church community. Now I must submit my will to Jesus but also for his body. We are called to surrender our will to Jesus for the good of the group. I find that most people find it incredibly challenging to give up their desires for the Church body. They want independence in their connection with other believers.
A couple of examples, people want to park in whatever space they want to park. Don’t tell me to park away from the building so our elderly and guests can have the most accessible spots. Also, people want to sit wherever they want to sit. I encourage them to sit near the front so that late-comers and guests can have the back rows. These are just a couple of the long list of things that each believer can do to make their Church better for guests and those with special needs. And yet, much of what I tell people falls on deaf ears.
I believe that one of the steps on your journey of spiritual growth is the death of independence. It is the silencing of those juvenile cries of self. Maturity is asking yourself if this what Jesus wants me to do and the best thing for his body. Jesus told his followers to take up their cross daily. Today is another one of those days. This weekend is one of those weekends.