One of the hardest things for me as a parent is truly embracing God’s agenda in child-rearing. Jesus himself says in Mark 8: 34-35:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Pastor Ben of Four Corners Church gave his sermon on this passage last Sunday. He reminded us of the fleeting aspect of happiness and the sustainable aspect of joy. God loves us so much and believes in us so much to carry out His plan, but we first have to embrace the idea that this life is NOT ABOUT US. Simply put– it’s about glorifying God. This was an uncomfortable truth for me– don’t I already sacrifice enough for my children, and the people around me? There isn’t enough time in the day for me to have my ME TIME, and after a whole day of serving my children, I have to save more service for my husband? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
He’s not kidding– in our mission to find joy in this life, we need to remember that true joy is allowing His agenda to lead us. We need to remember that it’s not about us. We will never experience true joy if we set about life trying to control every aspect.
God doesn’t want us to forego all pleasure either– His use of the cross to illustrate submission causes us to draw upon images of God’s ultimate sacrifice in His Son whose work was difficult and required perserverance.
Though the path of denying oneself to serve Jesus seems both scary and, quite frankly, “1950s Housewife-ish,” if we are in pursuit of true joy, the type of joy God desires for us, we should be willing to take up our crosses and follow Him.