This weeks featured article is written by Eugene Park. His point is one we all know from experience, but don’t like to face; our challenges and trials give the opportunity to drive us closer to Christ. Failing reveals our weakness and humility. As Jesus teaches in John 15, God will prune the branches in our lives and characters that don’t bear fruit. That won’t be a comfortable process, but a necessary one.

Empty shelves at a grocery store | Nope not a natural disast… | Flickr

The hoarding of groceries, masks, and toilet paper revealed how we value our personal flourishing to the detriment of the broader community’s. Calls to end the lockdown sooner, in hopes of getting a head start on economic recovery at the “cost” of the elderly or at-risk, similarly reveal our willingness to let others suffer so we don’t have to.

We also see self-idolatry in our homes during this lockdown. Working-from-home parents with children might find lose patience with their kids or spouse, struggling to live selflessly in times of stress and close quarters. Others indulge fear by breathlessly monitoring Twitter or the news, filling our now-open calendars not with acts of service for others, but with needlessly scrolling through stressful headlines on screens.

This quarantine and pandemic have confronted us with the realities of our self-idolatry. We see not only the spiritual toll but also a dire physical toll. Our addiction to personal freedom is making this situation worse.

This virus has brought death and destruction to the economy and human lives, unlike any other crisis in the 21st century. However, one silver lining is that what we used to turn to for escape (sports, hangouts, movies, travel) are no longer available. Instead of obsessing about when this quarantine will end, what if we consider how we might use this pause to be transformed?

Recognizing the depth of our self-idolatry should lead us to repentance. Jesus offers clear instructions to his followers that ring true in any context, but now more than ever before: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24–25).

Jesus calls us not to double down on our freedom, but to sacrifice it out of love for our neighbor. There is no better time to do that than now.

Read the full article here.

Giving up our own mission in life to take up Christ’s is not easy, but it will reveal much of our character and push our dependence more and more on him, rather than self. Consider taking the One Year Challenge and offering God a year of devoted ministry.