Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 – Mark 8:22-9:1

When you are trying to get a small child to complete a task, it has been shown that reverse psychology can be the winning strategy. You say to the child, "Don't put your shoes on…" and all of a sudden those shoes are on faster than ever. Or we pose a challenge; I bet you can't [fill in the blank]. 

At the end of this passage, Jesus is talking about what it takes to follow Jesus. Now Jesus is NOT using reverse psychology or trying to manipulate his listeners in any way, but my own overthinking always makes his message as confusing as reverse psychology. Jesus says, "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it." All of a sudden I am spiraling, because if I want to save my life, I need to lose my life, but I actually want to save my life so I will actually lose it even when I try to lose it?!? Argh. I do the same thing with "The last will be first and the first will be last." Naturally, I want to be first… so then, I should intentionally be last for now?? Argh. Here we go again.

The truth is that when Jesus shares these concepts with us, he is referring to our hearts and the actions that follow, based on where our hearts are. The goal isn't to change our actions so that we can reap the rewards. We change our hearts to live in relationship with Christ the King. And when we are in that relationship, Our actions change naturally. We then put others first, so we are at the end of the line. We live for Christ and not for ourselves, and in doing so, our lives are saved. Praise God for that!

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you ever get hung up on going through the motions instead of checking where your heart is? 
  2. How can you help yourself to stay in tune with your heart rather than just completing the task?