Our High School Youth Group has a new motto:
Follow Jesus or Die.
It emerged from our study of Mark 8:34-36, where I asked them to paraphrase what Jesus is saying. One of our adult leaders offered “Follow Jesus or Die,” and for the rest of the night the phrase was a mantra. I’m not encouraging it, but I’ll give it it’s own legs and see where it goes.
In a telling contrast to the junior high students who thought “deny yourself” meant to do something you’re not supposed to do, the high school students get this. In fact, our study followed an enneagram panel, where four 9’s were given hypothetical situations and asked to respond to them. It gave us an opportunity to talk about self-denial in the interest of peace and group cohesion, since that’s something 9’s are prone to. Healthy 9’s, these authors suggest, learn that self-assertion is not aggression. They begin to stand up for themselves rather than deferring to everyone else as a way to effect the peace they long for.
Would Jesus have us sublimate all of our wants and desires to those of others in every situation? Is it ever okay to assert your will?
One student reported that Jesus’ exhortation to self-denial made her think about her own quest for jazz band supremacy in a new light.
Then someone shouted, “Follow Jesus or Die!”
I’ll take it.