God really has a way of planting Scripture in your heart on Sunday and then making you live out that Scripture throughout the week. Sunday's verse at church was:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
This Scripture isn't saying we must hate the world and everything in it to follow Christ. It isn't about hating in it's literal sense; God doesn't operate like that. But what He is saying is that we must put HIM first, even if that means giving up our father, mother, spouse, children, and ourselves.
Today, I was reminded about just how much "self" I have been putting before Christ: I didn't get the job I applied for and I lost my APSU Alumni mug. Granted, those things in themselves are not major things (the job, maybe, but the mug, definitely not) and they most certainly aren't spiritual things by themselves. But for me, the job was something I took for granted and the mug was something I valued far more than one should sensibly value a travel coffee mug.
1. The job:
I've been blessed to be able to work for several departments across campus. I have networked and worked with various administrators on campus, and I'm very blessed to have done so. So, last week when I applied for, yet, another job (mostly just to help boost my income), I thought to myself "I've pretty much got this." I thought my interview went well, but my only concern was getting all the required hours in. I quickly began shuffling around my schedule in my mind, at the expense of my scholarship hours (and again, I thought to myself "Well, you can always just make those up later").
But my selfish pride and ego suffered a big blow when I got the e-mail saying someone else had been hired. Granted, I realize now that it was for the best that I didn't get hired (I would've been shuffling and scrambling to stay on top of everything, every minute of every day; and for what? Money.)
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also ... You cannot serve both God and Money."
--Matthew 6:19-21, 24
I was ridiculous in thinking that this job would "make my life better", or better yet that I really somehow deserved it. Had I gotten the job, I would've had an income. But I wouldn't have (a) the free time I have now to study and spend time in worship and praise and (b) my spiritual life probably would've suffered tremendously (long-term effect: more money = more shopping = less reliance on Christ to fulfill me).
2. The mug
I went to Grad Finale yesterday and the first thing I picked up was a (free!!) APSU Alumni travel mug. I was so proud of it. And since I don't drink coffee, I drank my sweet tea from it last night and today at Trane. I pretty much adored it because it signified me being sooooo close to becoming an alumnus. It's crazy to think about and I treasured it, like I said, far more than anyone should treasure a coffee mug!
I lost it today. Can't find it. Probably left it at Trane or somewhere on campus (although, I predict it is the former rather than the latter). Nonetheless, I stressed about it for a while earlier; then I kind of realized "It's just a mug. What's the big deal?"
Sure it was free and said "APSU Alumni" (an accomplishment I am in no way saying isn't important), but having a mug that says it compared to having the knowledge and a degree is nothing!
So, in conclusion, to my random blog, I've realized that even the "little" things that cause me to live for self need to be extinguished, even the travel mug-sized ones. We are called to carry our cross in order to follow Christ. I take this to mean that we can't continue to serve ourselves above Christ; we must die to our selfish desires, ego, pride, self-pity, etc. in order to put Christ first and foremost in our lives.