In this chapter, Tim discusses the everyday nature of Christian martyrdom. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:21 ” I die every day”. What was true for Paul should be true of every one of us as we follow his example as he followed the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). But what does it look like to die every day?
Tim answers this question with a very helpful list of examples where he asks “what does the practice of the cross mean when…” and then follows up each scenario with a passage from the Bible concerning the cross. The list is full of excellent examples but the best thing about it is the model it promotes. As Tim says, “The point is not to learn the list, but to learn the habit, the reflex, the principle”. If you’ve heard me talk about the need to preach the gospel to yourself, this is exactly what I mean. We need to practice addressing the gospel to the everyday, moment by moment situations of our lives. If you’re keen to grow in your ability to preach the gospel to yourself Check out Note To Self.
Further on in the chapter, I found the idea on page 65 that we try to live like “spiritual zombies” very helpful (although a little bit gruesome!). Reflecting on my own life I can feel the truth of it – that my unfruitfulness in living for Jesus is often the result of trying to hold onto my old life even though its dead.
Following on from this, the final section in the chapter about making “excuses” was also very confronting. I’ve been reminded lately of how I can get so caught up in my own circumstances that I use my busyness as an excuse not to die to myself and love others. “I’m busy doing good and important Christian ministry” I think to myself and then ignore the opportunity to love somebody that’s right in front of me.
Arthur Blessitt carried the cross around the world preaching as he went. I was think about this last night and remembered that he had a wheel at the end of the cross to make it easier to move ,so often we as Christians put that wheel on the end of the cross in the hope that it will be easier to follow Jesus. Tim Chester says”To take up your cross is to forsake social respectability.To take up your cross is to place yourself outside society and beyond it’s power.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 says
4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (ESV)
It was confronting for me to read “I’ve Got Better Things to Do” I tend to do the job but grumble very quietly but what a fool I am ,Jesus didn’t ‘he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even on a cross!’Phillipians2:5-8
Thanks Leadership team for choosing this book ‘The Ordinary Hero’ for our church to read. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t like the idea at first, study and book didn’t think my brain would cope with so much stuff but God had His purpose in doing this and I am loving it even though it has hurt at times.
Note To Self by Joe Thorn is worth having a read of