Focal passage: Luke 9:18-27
It’s been said that goodness requires motivation while greatness requires obsession. The word “obsession” derives from a French word meaning “to besiege” and later became associated with intrusive mental thoughts. Today it can be used more broadly to describe something that is compelling or motivational.
If greatness requires obsession, it begs the question: What is the object of our obsession? Obsession is usually characterized by a relentless pursuit, captivation or interest in something. It often has a cost. In Luke 9, Jesus teaches that the cost of following Him requires forsaking all else.
After feeding the 5,000, Jesus and His disciples moved to a private place to pray. During that time He told them about His coming death and resurrection (v. 22). This would have come as a surprise to them.
Jesus quickly followed this revelation with an equally shocking statement in verse 23, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Contrary to what was expected, Jesus explained that, not only would He be rejected and abused, but that His followers would be as well.
It is curious that Luke would juxtapose Jesus’ teaching about suffering with the feeding of the 5,000 just a few verses before. We are sometimes tempted to place our hope in what Jesus gives us rather than in Christ Himself. Do you think of your relationship with God in terms of what’s in it for you or in terms of what you can do for Him?
The cost of following Jesus can come in many forms and doesn’t look the same for everyone. It may mean sacrificing relationships, time, money, plans, your job or your public image. Yet, we can do this and more when the object of our affection, our obsession, is Him.
For Christians, the object of our obsession is always Jesus. Only in Christ can we gain by losing. If we are focused on Him, we can live a life unashamed with hope for the future no matter what comes our way.