A few years ago on Easter, I found myself volunteering for a music festival. I slept in a tent & spent four sleepless nights, wrapped from head to toe in almost every piece of clothing I'd brought.
My travel mug became my impromptu heater. All I really wanted to do was sleep or cry.
Then I watched Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I've seen this film so many times, but with the unique experience of my own suffering, I saw with new eyes the pain Jesus experienced.
My appetite for the milk chocolatey goodness of Easter eggs suddenly lacked enthusiasm.
I can only imagine the fullness of his experience and pain. Friends betrayed him with a kiss, he was wrongly accused, beaten, mocked and cursed. He called his friends to pray with him, but they couldn't even stay awake for an hour.
He begged his father to remove the call on his life, but still chose his father's will and not his own, knowing it led to a cross. No wonder he was sweating blood.
Can you imagine such crazy love?
He didn't let his pain or hurt lead him away from the road to the cross. Instead he fixed his eyes on Papa God and kept taking one step at a time toward the road to death.
Here comes the uncomfortable bit.
We've been called to die too. Not a literal death, but a death to self. That selfish place within each of us that demands we have our way.
I for one fight my flesh on a daily basis and I don't always win. In choosing death however, we are called to a richer living. A living to God.
Recently, I researched what it means to worship but what I discovered was uncomfortable. In fact, one of the most often used words for worship in the Bible comes from a meaning to give homage, like a dog licking his master's hand.
There's something deep and hidden behind this simple word. To give homage is to belong to someone.
In olden days it was what happened to a man who lived on the king's land. They became the king's vassal, to be his man, to go to war if called on.
It was a public declaration of belonging. When people came across these men, they'd call them a "King's man" or the "King's vassal".
I came across an example of this in a novel by Robin Hobb. A young boy is given a promise by the king Shrewd that if he accepts his place as a king's man, the king will make sure he has what he needs and will train him in swordplay, court manners, etc.
The boy agrees to this promise and suddenly his life is no longer his own.
It's the same with us. As soon as we choose Christ our lives our not our own anymore. We can no longer live our lives to our selves.
When the boy in this novel is challenged to do a hard task for his king and everything within him is saying "no", he has to come to terms with the promise he agreed to, his life is to do the king's will.
Anything less is treason. Even uttering a whispered complaint or challenge about the king's order is too close to treason for comfort.
Likewise we no longer live for our will but for His. Anything less should be considered treasonous to our Papa King.
Not because of some legalistic ideal, but because of our crazy love to honour and respect the King of kings.
In the story, the boy becomes known for his loyalty to king-in-waiting Verity. He sets his desires aside because of his loyalty and because of this people call him "Verity's man".
I want to be Verity's man.
To be God's man
It's not an easy road. Self still shouts to be heard and demands rights it has no right to demand.
I gave all that away as soon as I chose Jesus, because choosing Jesus means dying to my self and living to God.
Living a life of obedience, not because I have to but because I want to return some of that crazy love Jesus has for me.
So here's where I start.
This is my public declaration, I am God's man. I am His vassal.
I may not always like the things He calls me to, I know my flesh will fight. I will be ridiculed, mocked, wrongly accused and more.
But how can I not return His crazy love, by choosing death to self, for the living he has in store for those who choose it?
What about you? Are you ready for this kind of adventure?
Written by Charis Jackson
Originally Published for Christian Today