Have you considered Jesus’ invitation? “Pick up your cross and follow Me.”
Some religious leaders try to appeal to your sense of greed by telling you that “God will give you the desires of your heart,” and then define a person’s desire as “stuff.” You know, lots of health and lots of wealth.
And Jesus? What does He promise?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes it best as Jesus saying, Pick up your cross and “Come and die.”
Further Jesus said, “Deny yourself. Lose your life. Give up everything that the world considers essential.”
Jesus has pretty much told us to do the opposite to what those who are wise in their own eyes tell you to do.
You see, atheists and those who are as dull of mind and slow of thought think that we can just set out on a program of self-improvement and that will do just fine. And it feels just fine to those who take part in such a venture because rather than leading to greater humility, it leads to greater pride. It makes them feel better about themselves. The ubiquitous pride of atheists is no accident. But self improvement is no solution to the worlds problems because the self IS the problem.
The self is the sole problem with which Jesus came to deal. The human heart, the habits and desires and lusts can’t just be improved upon. The human heart must be killed and a new heart inserted. The heart of stone must be crushed and a soft heart, a heart of love must be given. No “self-made” heart can be allowed anywhere new God’s kingdom for it is this “self-made” mind-set that made it all wrong in the first place.
The way of Jesus is the way of the cross; of death to the corrupt self. The kingdom that Jesus brought and invites some to enter is not just something that will arrive in the future. The Kingdom that Jesus brought is right here, right now where we can truly pray that His Will will be done right here on earth as it is done in heaven.
Come and die, in order that you might live life to the full!