Scripture Resource Passage: John 12
Note: today’s post is a smidgen long. I trust you will find the time invested profitable. Thank you for reading.
An Opportunity, a Himalayan height of spiritual challenge appears. Jesus asserts: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Mountaineers be wary lest you perish, ascending to 26,000 feet requires supplemental oxygen.
To reach the spiritual summit in today’s passage—Jesus instructs, I should “hate my life.” I dare not try for this summit without He Who is oxygen. Oxygen-starvation ruins many a climber.
“Truly Jesus? I am to hate my life?” I confess that I am unequal to this ascent. I arrange and develop life seeking to love it, and those around me. I do not hate it or them. My home my body, with the homes and bodies of those I love, surround me; I do not hate these. Jesus is using at least one figure of speech (John 12:23-24), but it is not obvious that Jesus is making use of hyperbole—over exaggeration. This mountain remains unscaled, but firmly on the horizon.
For me it is Christ alone who is equal to this mountainous height. In making this observation I do not believe I have found a secret path to the top. I believe I am spiritually inadequate to achieve the summit.
A Companion I do find comfort in another disciple’s awareness that he too is marked by spiritual inadequacy. Thankfully, the breadth of Scripture encourages me for honestly, the words of Jesus could leave me thoroughly discouraged; fortunately, I encounter the high path-marking-stones of my brother Paul.
He knew Christ more intimately than most. He confesses: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:15-20 NIV).
The voice of seduction reminds me I am unable to meet Christ’s challenge. He dances on my soul, telling me I am hardly approaching the foothills of spirituality. He tells me I am certainly not ascending Everest or K-2. He laughs telling me Mount McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji may call out, but these are just more unreachable spiritual peaks. I fall on bruised knees and whisper with oxygen-starved breath, “Abba, Father.”
The Assurance Blessedly, the Spirit assures me there is One Who ascended the heights, even as I acknowledge my spiritual inadequacy to reach the summit.
- Where do you find spiritual breath for your climb into the heights of Christ’s call?
- To boldly climb into other challenging statements of Jesus consider consulting F.F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus, InterVarsity Press, 1983.